Saturday, June 23, 2007

Proud to be a Green Plumber

I'm going to focus on the Green Plumbing movement in Australia for a while here. It just seems that everything I read points to Australia as the focal point for Green Plumbing globally.

The Aussies are years ahead of the rest of the world because of their government sponsored "Green Plumber" accreditation program. It started as a collaboration between a trade association, RMIT university and the federal government to study and develop that program. After the program was developed and deployed there was concern that there would be little interest in the classes besides those who were saw a business opportunity in the new green methods. However, the response has been much greater than expected because of the idealism shown by the plumbing tradesmen in tackling the global issue of conservation. Read the article from The Age, a newspaper from Victoria.

I would like to see a green plumbing certification here in Portland at some point.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Green Building! ... in ... Northern Idaho?

Yep. Northern Idaho. That bastion of forward thinking and tree hugging environmentalism has it's first green built housing development.

/end sarcasm

Ok. So, Northern Idaho isn't the most progressive place in the world. However, you know the time has come for green building when Sandpoint, ID starts developing green. This story about a housing development built from sustainably grown timber, energy star windows and no "outgassing" carpets came out of Boisie State Radio. It got airtime on Oregon Public Radio a few days ago. It seems like almost every day now I'm seeing green building articles in the newspapers and in the MSM in general.

Here is the transcript from OPB: Home Builders See Green In North Idaho

Are there also green building projects springing up in your community? Are you suprised to see them? Tell us about green building in your community. Click on the comments link below.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Green Plumbing: Australia 2

Along with Austrailia's dedication to water conservation comes an industry of green plumbing and water saving products. Here are some interesting Austrailian products I have found:

An alternative to rain barrels and underground cisterns.
The Waterfall: Modular Water Storage System

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Green Plumbing: Australia

In searching for green plumbing related information around the internets I started to realize something. I realized that there were places around the world that are far ahead of the US in the green building movement. Even though Portland is considered a leader in green building in the US, you would be hard pressed to find a green plumber. In fact, this year's ReDirect Guide, a regional guide to environmentally friendly businesses in the Pacific Northwest, has only one green plumber listed. I'm sure there are some more out there. They are just not that common.

Australia seems like the place to be if you are a green plumber. Apparently, Australia is one of the driest areas in the world and is in the midst of the second worst drought it's seen since 1900. However, the population has the third largest per capita usage of water in the world. This puts them in a bit of a pinch.

One of the ways Australia is reacting to their water problems is through widespread adoption of green plumbing practices. Here's what Wikipedia says about the current drought , "The current drought has changed the way Australia treats its water resources. Because of the long-term effects of the drought now showing, many state governments are attempting to "drought-proof" their states with more permanent solutions... Now schemes like Grey-water water-recycling, government rebates for home-owners to install water tanks, and tougher restrictions on industries have come into effect."

Friday, November 17, 2006

MICROCHP - Combined heat and Power Units

Combined heat and power units. Sounds futuristic. And it is. It describes a new kind of furnace very similar to the one you use to heat your house. However, it does much more than that. It is a mini power plant for your house that can provide electricity during the winter months as well as heat your home.

Just like a coal, oil or nuclear power plant the Microchp gives off heat as it generates electricity. Instead of releasing that extra heat out into the atmosphere and rivers, like a traditional power plant, it captures the heat and uses it to heat the house. Why didn't some one think of this before?

Here are some links:

Monday, October 02, 2006

Northwest Solar Expo 2006

I attended the Northwest Solar Expo 2006 at the Oregon Convention Center on Saturday. It was a good intro to solar. Much of it was over my head, but what I did get out of it was, I think, quite valuable. Currently we are focused on thinking about the direction to go with this Green Plumbing idea. The most relevant workshop at the expo was a presentation on solar hot water heating. Solar hot water systems are apparently not too difficult to install. According to the presenter from Cascade Sun Works these systems are the "low hanging fruit" of the solar energy world for homeowners.

  • solar hot water heater is one of the most common first steps to using solar in a residential setting.
  • it is a fairly simple system to install. possible for the home owner to do himself.
  • it will last 20+ years with regular maintenance
  • you will recoup the cost in about 6 years
  • it is the most cost effective solar system for your home (most "bang for your buck")
  • reduces dependance on other sources of energy (gas/electric)
  • State and federal tax breaks and tax credits
  • Closed loop glycol system was most efficient and less prone to problems. More attractive/less obtrusive solution.


Solar Hot Water: A Primer:

Docs on draindown systems:

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Green Plumbing

What the heck is "Green Plumbing"?

That's a good question. We will use this blog to explore the answer to that question.