water and waste

Bathroom at zero carbon house, Birmingham showing the bath, basin and green garden through the window and mirrors

Water itself is a renewable resource but there is a hidden energy cost in cleaning, purifying and pumping water into our homes. In our zero carbon house we use rainwater rather than refined water as much as possible.

Rainwater tank

In our former coal cellar we now have a 2,500L rainwater harvesting tank. We filter and store rainwater collected from our roof, which we use for flushing the WCs, washing clothes and for a rainwater tap in the kitchen.  This reduces the amount of metered water we use by approximately 50 per cent.  It also reduces the amount of rainwater discharged into the drainage system.

Dual flush toilets

Our Ideal Standard WCs are the first seriously low water usage ones to be made in the UK. The dual flush toilet uses 2.6/4 litres rather than up to 13 litres in some UK WCs. And, of course, they flush with rainwater.

Rainwater tap

In the kitchen we have one tap for refined water and another that delivers rainwater from the roof. We use that for washing down and scrubbing carrots…any job where purified water isn’t necessary.

Reused bath water

Water from the bath can be diverted to a water butt barrel in the garden, which is used for watering the plants.

Recycling storage

We recycle as much of our glass, plastics and paper as possible and compost our vegetable peelings.   We therefore have built-in storage space for our recycling in the kitchen to make this easy for us.  Likewise, we have a convenient storage space for our bicycles in the lobby as, living in the city, it’s easy to cycle to school and work.  Having the bikes accessible but out of the way is all part of the zero carbon house design.

Recycled site waste

When the house was being built, 99 per cent of all the construction waste was recycled with great diligence by the contractors Speller Metcalfe. They received a national Considerate Constructors award for their work.

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