Net Zero Water

The home uses a snow and rainwater harvesting system, capturing runoff from the roofs of the farmhouse and barn to supply 7,500 gallons (28 391 liters) of in-ground cisterns, and also two permanent ponds. The water in the cisterns is used to fill all non-potable needs for water within the farmhouse and barn, and for irrigation of the areas immediately surrounding the farmhouse as necessary to start plant growth. Harvested water in excess of the capacity of the cisterns is diverted to the permanent ponds. The ponds have freeboard capacity, thereby functioning as rain gardens.

Although the 15-acre (6 ha) parcel had two water well shafts already drilled at the time the owners bought the land parcel, they were unusable due to their location near the natural waterway on the project site. Therefore a new well was drilled for potable water since the Authority Having Jurisdiction does not currently allow rainwater for potable uses. In order to document the water balance, calculations were completed to ensure that the volume of water that enters and leaves the LBC project would be equal, and available for recharging the aquifer.

Ecological Water Flow

One-hundred percent of the storm water is managed on the site through a series of rain gardens, swales and water retention ponds that allow the water to seep naturally back into the groundwater system. A future-ready greywater system will expel grey water from the house to a greywater leach field and rain garden southwest of the house. Flows of blackwater from low-flush toilets and the kitchen sink currently are managed through a traditional septic system, with a traditional drain field. The use of composting toilets has been planned for the future through space provisions for a Swedish composting toilet system in the basement and sub-basement, including provision for associated leachate management.

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