Water efficiency is an important measure in green building everywhere, but in Australia — one of the driest countries in the world — water conservation is more widely practiced and water awareness is generally higher than it is in North America. In addition to pioneering water efficiency, Australians have discovered some problems due to the use of efficient, low-flow fixtures. One is the potential problem of "dry drains," however, a new invention called the Drainwave aims to solve the problem.
Recently, Knibb Design let us know about their new endeavor to modularize landscape design with a new site: Knibb Modular Garden. Knibb Modular lets you create a custom residential or commercial garden online in about four steps. When you're done, you'll have an estimated total cost of all the materials, which should be about $12-$16 per square foot. Unless you install the garden yourself, installation will run about $4-$6 extra per square foot. So all in, a modular garden like this will cost about $16-$22 per square foot, sans land preparation costs.
Oxygenics was kind enough to send us their new STORM showerhead, which was designed to provide 20%-70% water and energy savings. The unit has 54 spray nozzles that shower you with 30% more water pressure compared to other brands. They do this with their Pressure Boosting Technology (see below), which squeezes the stream of water while adding air to it.
The South Waterfront area of Portland is a new and interesting neighborhood. All the buildings in South Waterfront will be LEED certified and thoughtfully planned. The 35-acre, 17-block district abutting the Willamette River is also the first urban neighborhood to achieve Salmon-Safe certification. The mission of Salmon-Safe is to restore the health of watersheds so salmon can spawn and thrive. Here’s what the certification tells us about South Waterfront:
There’s kind of an edgy, underground movement of conscious homeowners and environmentalists that are finding creative ways to capture water and reuse it for their needs. BusinessWeek’s Malia Wollan just wrote an article called "Rainwater collectors work to ease shortages," and she talks about the popularity of the movement. In the article, Wollan mentions a website called HarvestH20, which has seen an increasing number of visitors seeking information and advice on rainwater collection and reclamation.