Water down the drain? – on d’mand hot water

By Chet Zebroski

Beyond Green

Inspired as we are to harmonize with nature by creating as much solar electric energy our homes need annually, we also come to understand the impact of our water use.  We realize too much water runs down the drain as we wait for warm water.

A simple tactic homeowners can take is to not allow water to pass down the drain while waiting for hot water.  Many people are placing buckets, or other containers in the flow until warm temperature is at hand.  While commendable, many just don’t have the patience and/or motivation to perform such a duty.  Another tactic would be to use the stopper at the sink allowing the cold water to accumulate until enough hot water has warmed it up for use.  But, this too has it’s limitations.

Priming with Hot Water D’MAND

The good news is that there’s a pump that can be retrofitted strategically to prime the majority of the hot water line with hot water.  It’s manufactured by ACT and is called Hot Water D’MAND Kontrols Systems.  They offer many options for water conservation for both residential and commercial buildings. Here’s a link to the product used in our small home:

One of the first things we did during our remodel was to install this recirc pump at the kitchen sink for our hot water.  The kitchen’s hot water line runs past the bathrooms.  So, those lines would be primed with hot water at the main line, delivering hot water to the bathrooms with very little cold water left in the branch lines.  In larger homes additional pumps may be required to attain efficiency.

The pump works by forcing the cold water in the hot water line into the cold water line by use of a clever plumbing fitting.  That’s right.  The pump is powerful enough to force the water into the cold water line until it reaches a temperature of 72°, then automatically shuts off.

While Laundry to Landscape can be done by most homeowners using simple tools, we felt this gadget may require a plumber for a proper connection.  But, for those of you more confident in your capabilities, here’s a link to a video of an installation:

More: The image at the top captures the title.  Here’s a link to the article that it’s from, explaining many of the aspects of grey water.  The more we learn, the better we become.  Let’s embrace this moment and use these techniques to change the way we share space on this precious sphere:

Home Design – Natural Daylighting

By Chet Zebroski

Once the water intrusion, air infiltration, and insulation solutions were installed in our crawl space, we moved our attention onto interior improvements.  With the desire of opening up circulation and providing natural light into a dark hall, we started by removing a door and related framing to allow additional daylight to enter the hall space from the Living Room.

We considered adding a skylight for natural day light, but the roof form over the hall where we’d like to place one is way too complicated.  So, we came up with the idea of borrowing light from a bedroom window and feeding it through a large display niche into the hallway.

What happened is that while contemplating a solution for gaining natural light in the hallway, a friend/client and I bartered an exchange.  I did some design work for him, and he did some glass blowing for me.  His work actually inspired the concept of the niche in the hallway instead of a skylight because we needed a place to display his art.

It occurred to us that by using a niche as a light-source / display-space in the hallway, we could also expand the niche on the bedroom side and provide a built-in cabinet. ~and, avoid the hassle of putting in a skylight.  We wanted to make improvement to the bedroom, too.  So, it’s kind of a two-fer.

We love built-ins and the charm they bring to a home.  So, game on!

By removing a door and related framing from a hall entry, and providing a source of light from an adjacent bedroom’s window via a large niche, we provide natural daylight into what was once a dark hallway.  These pictures should be self explanatory…

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