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If you are a plant lover, you have surely heard of green walls. If you are not familiar with this term or, like me, thought it meant a wall full of vines, think again! Instead, imagine a vertical garden, filled with different and varied plants, concentrated on a wall section.
You are interested? Us too! The realization of an interior or exterior green wall will not only offer you an aesthetic advantage, but will also offer you multiple benefits! Here is some information before you embark on this adventure.
Much like a painting, a green wall can extend to different sizes depending on your space and its restrictions. However, unlike a regular painting, this one will be in constant bloom and you will be able to watch it grow and flourish over time!
Beyond its aesthetic appeal, its installation will help with the purification and filtration of the air, in addition to the natural production of oxygen that plants normally produce.
Plants also help keep the temperature more stable and cool, which will also help you limit your air conditioning energy use! In addition, a green wall will offer you sound-absorbing properties once installed since it will absorb ambient noise in your home.
Several studies report in particular the benefits of plants and vegetation in the workplace, in community spaces or at home, explaining that they significantly increase productivity, well-being, mood and much more!
If you choose to install an interior green wall in your home, you will have to take into account its location and the amount of light it will receive. Whether in a small apartment or a larger home, natural light will never stay the same with the passing hours.
If you choose a corner that receives little light, lean towards tropical plants instead, as they require little direct light to thrive.
For generally darker or poorly lit interiors, it is best to install an additional light source, even if you are only selecting plants that require little light exposure. You can do this using a horticultural light (fluorescent tube) or a steam lamp. This will also allow you to broaden your selection of plants in the end.
The PlantesPlaisirsPassions website lists the following plants, which are suitable for shaded areas:
For predominantly brighter places (including the addition of artificial light), you will have access to a wide selection of plants that will be able to adapt perfectly to these conditions.
However, it is best to avoid plants that do not appreciate humidity, such as succulents or cacti, since the proximity of your plants will create a humid climate naturally.
The structure of your wall will depend on the size you want to work with. The base can be made from a simple medium-sized frame, going up to the full size of your wall if you want!
The way you go about it will obviously also be different depending on the location of the structure. Here we will focus on an interior wall!
Here is PlantesPlaisirsPassions's practical guide (translated from French):
“First of all, you have to know that a green wall is made up of a support fixed to a wall which must form a substrate on which the plants will grow. In addition, an irrigation system is for regular watering of the plants. For that, here is what you will need to make your interior green wall yourself:
- a flexible polyethylene or polyane film;
- a wooden board to be fixed to the wall or freestanding;
- chicken wire;
- moss (sphagnum);
- soil suitable for succulents;
- hammer, nails, wall stapler and staples, wood glue, wire cutters, pencil, tape measure.
Once the basic structure has been chosen, it must be made waterproof by cutting the flexible polyethylene film to deposit it at the bottom. Take care to let it protrude well on the sides. Then place the sphagnum moss (available at garden stores) in a bowl and water it so that it soaks up well. Then place it all over the bottom of the board. Finally, add over the potting soil evenly. To make the whole thing even prettier, you can put on top of the green wood moss.
Now let's move on to creating the front of the wall. To do this, take the measurements of the board and cut the mesh according to said dimensions. Secure the wire mesh to the board and place it on the bottom. Turn everything over to cut off the excess polyethylene film.
All that remains is to place the succulents. It is a question of enlarging the holes of the wire mesh using wire cutters to pass the roots. Dig a hole in the moss with your finger and slide the plant into it. Do the same over the entire surface, arranging them to your liking. Now it will take a week for the plants to take root. If like most people you like flowers that are both aesthetic and not difficult to maintain, you can go for trendy varieties. After that, you can fix it to the wall, hang it up or put legs on it. ”
Several models of green walls seen on the internet during my research included an automatic irrigation system. The upside is that other than filling the main water basin, you won't have to constantly remind yourself to water your plants.
Called "closed-circuit", this tank is made up of submerged pumps that are connected to meters which, once programmed, can send the water through pierced pipes which will water the plants.
The maintenance concerning your green wall will remain rather simple. You will need to make sure to remove any dead, damaged leaves or yellowing cuttings as your wall grows to avoid affecting other surrounding plants.
Otherwise, it is good to know that each year, it is recommended to change at least 10% to 20% of your plants, in addition to pruning several of them according to their development.
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Last modified 2023-05-09
Karine Dutemple • 23 Apr 2021
Over the last few years, homeowners have become increasingly aware of the importance of making eco-friendly interior design choices. In a world of convenience and waste, it’s easy to fall prey to adorning homes with furniture and materials that are damaging to the planet. The decision to build, remodel or decorate a home has a huge impact on the environment, and thus, we should be thinking about how to incorporate sustainable interior design practices whenever possible. Let’s take a look at some sustainable interior design practices and look for ways to build a better tomorrow, starting with our homes. Sustainable Interior Design Practices 1- An energy-efficient design Source: Canva Energy efficiency is a hot topic these days, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that it tops the list of sustainable design practices. Overuse of energy is directly contributing to climate change, and homes and buildings are huge contributors to greenhouse gas emissions. So let’s speak to two of the most crucial interior design factors that affect energy efficiency: heating and lighting. Plenty of air escapes through our windows, which requires more power to heat and cool our homes. Thus, a sustainable design practice means ensuring you have high-quality, well-insulated windows. Furthermore, using curtains or drapes is an energy-efficient way to keep interior temperatures comfortable. When it comes to lighting, consider painting your interior walls with light or soft colours, as they reflect more natural light and will require less artificial lighting. Another consideration may be installing home automation to remotely control lighting and heating systems. This will come in handy if you and your loved ones wish to use these systems more economically. 2- A low environmental impact design Source: Canva When it comes to materials and products, it’s crucial to choose those with the lowest environmental impact. Although organic materials such as wood, wool and natural stone seem obvious, we also need to consider how to treat natural resources responsibly. We’d recommend choosing materials that renew themselves quickly and efficiently, such as bamboo. Another note is that you should opt for materials that are extracted in an environmentally responsible way. Make sure to do some research prior to purchasing or using materials to be informed as to certifications related to any materials' origins. We should also mention that materials must be evaluated based on their life cycle from extraction, production, transportation, and processing, as well as how they’re eventually discarded. 3- Design with longevity and versatility in mind Source: Canva It’s important for architects, designers and homeowners alike to consider the lifespan of materials and products with which they’re working when it comes to interior design. This is especially true of elements inside the home that experience a lot of wear, such as our floors. Designing a space that is durable and timeless will help homeowners resist the urge to renovate every few years and this will keep excess materials out of landfills. The easiest way to achieve this is to work with quality and functional materials over materials with a lot of frills or embellishments. Another important consideration is designing a space that has the power and potential to change. It’s natural for a person's tastes and needs to change over their lifetime, and thus, an interior space should be able to reflect this and be adapted accordingly. When certain elements of a room can be easily adapted, then there’s no need to tear the whole house apart to start anew. Now, there are many options available on the market that allow for potential change: Walls (or partitions) can be moved or altered, multi-functional or mobile furniture that can shift and change, modular flooring and furniture, etc. Investing in sturdy, durable elements makes for a versatile interior space is a sustainable practice. A final note on this point is to think about surfaces and materials that are easy to clean, to avoid needing an abundance of cleaning products, as these can be quite harmful to the environment. 4- Keep your health in mind Source: Canva Recently, it has become clear that our interior environments are crucial to our health and well-being. We spend plenty of time indoors, whether at home, at work or in school and stores. Thus, the health of interior space should be considered during all stages of its design. There are several ways to design according to beneficial mental and physical health, and this includes air quality, ventilation, lighting and sound/acoustics. Indoor air quality is paramount to our health and certain materials and products are toxic for us to interact with and ingest. Furniture or materials treated with these chemicals will release dangerous toxins into the air. It’s crucial to design and renovate with materials that have low VOCs. Additionally, air should be able to circulate around the room freely. Therefore, a layout that allows for this in interior spaces, as well as accessible doors and windows, is important. Sound is another serious factor in our physical, mental and emotional health. Too much noise from external sources bleeding inside can have a significant effect. If you’re living in a high-traffic area, consider ways to reduce sounds, such as using rugs or carpets. For more information on interior soundproofing, check out our article on the subject. Lastly, natural light is of great benefit to physical and emotional health. We mentioned this in the first section, but it’s important enough to reiterate. Natural light helps reduce stress and has a calming effect on our bodies. When designing an interior space, look for ways to incorporate natural light or elements from the outdoors, such as plants. This will allow for a deeper connection to a natural environment while also being a reminder of the importance of sustainable design practices.
Karine Dutemple • 08 Feb 2021
As we turn our concerns towards the state of the earth’s environment, green-friendly construction and renovation projects continue to be on the rise, increasingly popular and in vogue. Of course, with some of us occupying homes built over 30 years ago, there are many aspects, systems, and appliances, that don’t function to an environmentally-friendly standard. This can include old electrical and plumbing systems, as well as certain materials, both interior and exterior. So, what can we do to remedy this situation and make sure our house operates in a way that helps mother earth? If you’re ready to take on a green renovation project and looking for specific updates you should consider, then we’d suggest you keep reading! Tips & Tricks to Make Your Home More Eco-Friendly Determine what needs to be updated source: trendy mood It’s important to start by determining which areas of your home aren’t performing to an energy-efficient standard and working from there. How can you do this exactly? Well, we’d recommend hiring a trained energy auditor to explain what to focus your attention on. They’ll walk around your home and let you know areas where you may be losing a lot of hot or cold air, or what materials are outdated, and thus, the aspects of your home that are wasting energy. Suggestions could be some of the following: Replacing or insulating water pipes around the home; Caulking or insulating windows, doors, baseboards and room corners; Insulating your attic or basement; Replacing or upgrading your roofing material or exterior siding. Another option is to consult a green contractor who has experience with older homes. These contractors can offer further insight into the specific updates that will be energy-saving for an older home. Start with the small stuff source: Lolly Jane Before making any drastic moves on turning your old home into an environmentally-friendly haven, consider these small steps you can take to make sure things are running in line with green efficiency efforts. LED bulbs: Update all your current light bulbs to LEDs. These bulbs last 8 to 10 times longer than incandescent or CFL light bulbs and produce a small amount of heat in comparison. Not to mention, they use ⅓ to 1/30 the electricity to a regular bulb. Programmable thermostat: A home built over 30 years ago doesn't have a programmable thermostat. This small device can have a huge impact on your electricity bill as well as the environment, and thus, we’d suggest installing one. With the ability to regulate interior temperatures depending on when you’re home and when you’re out, this is a must for homes without. Solar power: The use of solar power isn’t possible for every home. In scenarios where your home or property has access to plenty of natural light, this could be an excellent option. Now, solar power doesn’t necessitate replacing all of the electricity in your home but can be used for specific areas such as solar-powered water heating. This option will likely also need a tankless water heater to live alongside the solar-powered one, but both methods offer ample electricity savings. Skylights: When it comes to green-efficient initiatives, you may not initially consider skylight installation. However, skylights are an excellent way to allow natural light into the home without the risk of heightened heating and cooling costs that sometimes occupy a new window installation, as well as avoiding turning lights on during the day and wasting energy. Do consider tubular skylights in place of older models, as these are the most energy-efficient of the bunch. If you're curious about skylights, consider checking out our article Why skylights are making a comeback! Use green building materials source: ghs products Now, if you’re ready to tackle some larger renovations, you should consider green-friendly materials. If your home was built over 30 years ago, chances are some of the current materials in place may be quite outdated. When it comes to the walls of our homes, many are insulated with traditional gypsum drywall. This material requires a ton of energy to make and when disposed of, causes a lot of stress on our environment. Insulation is a crucial factor in our old homes. Many old houses are not properly insulated or could use a serious update in this regard. If you don’t have the time or budget to reinsulate your entire home, roof insulation will make a huge difference in terms of electrical performance, and thus, will lead to saving energy. There are a few eco-friendly insulation options, and these include: Plant-based insulation; Cork; Recycled materials such as cellulose wadding. If you’re undertaking a major transformation, and drywall happens to be a factor, consider using EcoRock, an eco-friendly drywall made from recycled materials. It takes less energy to make and it’s completely recyclable. Not to mention it’s mould resistant. For more information on these materials and this subject, take a look at our article Eco-friendly insulation materials. Flooring is another important factor when it comes to materials, and many traditional flooring options aren’t considered green-friendly. If you’re redoing the floors of your old home, there are a few sustainable choices that may appeal to you. These include: Cork; Bamboo; Tile; Laminate. Paint is another factor that must be considered when renovating an older home. Those built over 30 years ago may still have toxic paint on the walls, which is something to bear in mind. If you’re giving a fresh coat to some of the rooms of your home, do work with eco-friendly paint alternatives. The options on the market have been growing recently, with many companies now offering paints that are 100% free of VOC (volatile organic compound). To look further into green-friendly renovation materials, have a gander at our article on the subject! Renewable Heating Systems source: house beautiful The way your home is heated has a direct impact on energy usage and the environment. Of course, you’re looking to use the least amount of energy possible. As previously mentioned, solar heating is an excellent option in place of more traditional home heating systems. Other options you may want to look into include heat pumps and wood-fueled heating systems. Ground-source heat pumps extract heat from the earth by way of pipes, and this heat can be used for your home and water. Air-source heat pumps are also an option, using a similar method but extracting heat from the air instead of from the ground. These can be fitted to an external wall or roof. Alternatively, wood-fueled heating systems use wood pellets or logs to power a central heating unit as well as your hot water. Think wood-burning stove but modern. These units can be fitted with a back boiler for water. Reduce and reuse your water consumption source: the wild decoelis How we use (and abuse) our planet's most precious natural resource is truly daunting. In our homes, we should always look for ways to conserve our water usage. The toilets and showers of older buildings may be expelling more water than we need. Consider low-flush toilets and low-flow showerheads to replace outdated models. More involved water-saving methods include greywater systems as well as rainwater harvesting systems. Both offer a way to reuse water that’s already available to us in areas of the home where the quality of water is not so important. This can include the toilet, the washing machine or even a source of water for our gardens. If you’re interested in the greywater system method, deep dive into the subject with our article Everything to know about greywater systems. For more detailed information about all the green-friendly renovation options you could consider, take a look at our very informative article eco-friendly and green-renovation guide. Happy renovating! Want to test your knowledge? Take our personality quiz on renovating old houses! Find out which style of renovations would suit you best.
Cynthia Laferrière • 16 Nov 2022
Since cities and suburbs are ever-developing, interior design and building trends rapidly evolving, and outdated buildings are brought up to code, it’s no wonder the construction, renovation, and demolition industry is booming. Although the desire for something new and beautiful is not likely to wane, it's becoming increasingly important, logical even, to reduce the waste generated by this industry. This includes recycling, processing, and repurposing materials. In keeping with environmental awareness and social responsibility, the following is intended to highlight the key ways in which you can improve worksite waste sorting and disposal. Why the need to manage construction waste? Regardless of the job site, it'll generate a diverse and varying amount of waste. Mostly, it'll be new material scraps (on construction worksites) or bits of mixed materials (on renovation and demolition worksites). On top of that, the presence of common waste such as packaging, dust, and trash from those working on the site (tissues, food, damaged equipment, etc.) will be found. The sheer volume and variety of waste materials will pose some challenges: Available storage space to sort materials at the source; Local resources, such as ecocentres or haulers; Worker training/awareness; Responsibility (Who's responsible for proper waste management depending on the type of waste – Is it the municipality, contractor, engineer, or owner?) Since the planet's future is at stake and guidelines have been established by several government departments, and since recycling generates employment, it's worth considering how you can take care of your residual waste materials! Quick Facts: » A landfill site that receives one ton of waste, as a result, releases one and a half tons of greenhouse gases. For example, renovating a triplex can generate up to 55 tons of waste (cement, bricks, wood, gypsum, paper, etc.). For this reason alone, better construction waste management is key to preventing all that waste from ending up in landfills. » Burying seemingly harmless materials such as lumber also contributes to climate change. When buried, the lack of oxygen promotes methane gas emissions, a result of organic matter decomposition. » Plaster, along with toxic residues such as glues, paints, etc., create noxious fumes that contaminate the water table. » A typical renovation job site can generate up to 78 tons of GHG, while a similar green job site can manage to emit only 35 tons. Source: coia.nac - Flickr - Title: waste - Changes: adjusted image size Are you looking for experts for your green renovation project? Fill in this form to be connected with top-rated contractors! Construction Waste Management: Options Whether you outsource your waste management to a recycling centre or sort the waste yourself, it's essential to accurately identify the materials used or removed during the span of your project. Likewise, it's worthwhile to list your options. Several sustainable worksite management methods are available: Sustainable design Green materials Sustainable building design Selective deconstruction Converting existing buildings Advanced woodworking technique LEED program Routing construction, renovation, and demolition waste to the appropriate facilities Selective deconstruction This technique consists of carefully stripping, layer by layer, the components of a structure to salvage and repurpose the maximum amount of material for another construction project or to repair certain elements of an existing structure. Advanced woodworking technique Here, engineers and architects, using cutting-edge techniques and advanced calculations, work together to reduce lumber use for structural frameworks and design buildings that generate as little waste and junk as possible. LEED® This program, known as Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®), offers a range of evaluation systems and certifications for environmentally responsible projects. Numerous contractors rely on these measures and guidelines to manage their projects or develop new approaches for their clients. Ecocentres In Quebec, about 260 centres are attempting to effectively manage residential waste of all kinds. You've probably heard of them through recycling ads where you’re encouraged to drop off old appliances and electronics. Naturally, several ecocentres also have a place to drop off wood, aggregates, gypsum, shingles, batteries, dead leaves, peat, plumbing, and hazardous waste such as sealants or propane tanks, etc. Once the waste is sorted, it's then sent to various recycling or transformation sites. Recyclable Construction Materials Source: marcel.toruno - Flickr - Title: DSC04251 - Changes: adjusted image size Here are two of the most common concrete examples: Wood More than 60% of the wood collected from sorting centres will be repurposed into energy, and more than 35% will be used to manufacture new materials: melamine panels, pellet fuel, mulch, soundproofing panels, plywood, and much more. Gypsum Since this material can easily be broken down and eventually turns into fine powdery particles, it’s often used as a covering material in engineered landfills, as agricultural soil fertilizer, as an ingredient in cement, and even as a component in the manufacturing of drywall. However, for all these transformations, gypsum must be separated from other materials on worksites. Waste Container Rentals Some companies offer a one-stop shop-type of service that includes delivering the waste container to your door, transporting it back to the sorting center, and issuing a certificate showing the percentage of recycled materials in the dumpster. Containers ranging from 10 to 35 metres are rented depending on what will be discarded. Rest assured, depending on what you’re disposing of, you’ll be advised accordingly; whether it be heavy materials like concrete and dirt, or just a few pieces of wood and carpet. WM is one of the companies that offer such services in Canada. Source: Bill Smith - Flickr - Title: Dumpster Number Nine - Changes: adjusted image size And, as it goes, nothing’s perfect: Some remote areas are underserved. Lack of available workforce and the high cost of processing often prevent some materials such as vinyl, insulation, porcelain, and many others from being repurposed. The lack of knowledge regarding the origin of the materials creates ambiguity about quality standard compliance and the type of emissions generated during the transformation process, which altogether hinders recycling. Poorly sorted materials on worksites can be impossible to salvage because materials may have been compromised with incompatible residues. If correctly managed, there’s nothing to worry about – however, it's virtually impossible for all construction waste to be recycled, reclaimed, repurposed, or sold. For example, a mouldy carpet will inevitably end up in the landfill despite your best efforts! Lastly, before dumping everything into a recycling bin, consider the potential appeal of your used supplies and materials. Many DIYers, artists, and antique dealers look for items such as wrought iron railings, mouldings from earlier decades, intricately carved wooden doors, and so on. Likewise, when it comes to smaller projects, one person's trash is another person’s treasure. In this case, websites such as Kijiji, Marketplace, Craigslist, etc. can be useful. Who knows, perhaps you'll also discover a passion for restoration! Cover image: MPCA Photos - Flickr
Cynthia Laferrière • 25 Aug 2022
If you live in a big city or keep yourself apprised of innovative methods of environmental conservation, you’ve probably already heard of green roofs. They’re created using a technique which involves covering a building’s rooftop with all kinds of vegetation: plants, flowers, and vegetables. It’s no secret: green structures provide better insulation and minimize carbon emissions. All in all, they improve air quality while increasing the building's overall energy efficiency. Following in the same footsteps, lo and behold the blue roof, the new and updated version of the eco-friendly roof system, is intended to solve an increasingly common problem. This innovative system could help cities manage heavy rainfall—yet another way to adapt to climate change. Source: Flickr What’s a Blue Roof? This new technology came about in Montréal and was developed by Hydrotech—as seen atop McGill University’s Faculty of Education building. The appeal of this design is that it doesn’t interfere with other roofing projects. In addition to solar panels, the roof can accommodate a terrace, vegetable garden, playground, or lounge area, and any type of heating or air conditioning system. The main purpose of a blue roof is to collect rainfall to reduce any risks of flooding that could be caused by, among other things, a poorly functioning sewage system. Instead, rainwater is stored between aggregates or in a cavity under a paving stone. With a mini-dam-like (or barrier) aspect, a series of valves installed in stormwater drains controls the flow and return of any accumulated water progressively back to the sewer system (the excess will be drained before winter hits). Pipes can also be included to allow residents and businesses to recover water, for instance, to run cooling towers, washing machines, toilets, clean cars, water plants, and so on. Typically, these are "smart" roofs. They’re fitted with water-leak detectors and sensors that measure water levels and transmit energy conservation data and weather conditions. These devices are convenient when it comes to performance improvement, damage prevention, and remote monitoring, as well as early water release in the event of a storm. Source: Flickr Benefits of a Blue Roof Cheaper than green roofs, blue roofs cost up to 10 times less, ranging from $1 to $2 per square foot, with some additional costs to convert an existing roof. Provides better insulating than tar or gravel roofs by regulating the building's interior temperature. Moreover, the waterproofing membranes as well as the heating and air conditioning systems last longer, since the equipment operates less frequently or at a lower intensity. Compared to traditional roofs, the risks of pipe leaks or overflow requiring expensive work and insurance claims are considerably lower. In keeping with the principle of a circular economy, as well as lowering energy bills, any stored water can serve another purpose. As previously stated, blue roofs help prevent municipal sewage systems from overflowing. By upgrading to a blue roof, you may be eligible to receive financial incentives from government programs that promote water conservation, as well as receiving municipal credit for stormwater user fees. The only minor drawbacks: Since it requires a specialized engineer and a few significant challenges to install, it is more cost-effective, if not more convenient, to build a blue roof on a new structure than to convert an old one. Installation on commercial buildings or high-rise apartment buildings is preferable to that on houses; space (size and slope), efficiency, and costs are the main reasons. More expensive than a regular roof to install, and there are maintenance and upkeep costs. However, if you were already planning to replace your entire roof, the energy efficiency will pay off over the subsequent years. The overall load is much more significant on the structure. Fortunately, buildings nowadays are built according to strict standards, and they have a greater capacity to support such a load, especially commercial and high-rise buildings. Looking for specialists for your roof renovation project? Fill out the form so that we can put you in contact with certified contractors from our network! Installing a Blue Roof Environmental standards, specific requirements, precise calculations... Such a project requires a unique blend of municipal representatives, clients, engineers, and builders. Any company installing the blue roof will also be responsible for future maintenance and repairs. This project begins with a feasibility study: if a blue roof is to be installed on an existing building, the structure must be able to support it. A concrete structure is usually recommended, rather than steel or wood. Then, the existing waterproofing membrane is inspected and may have to be replaced with a new, more modern one, made of bitumen and recycled materials such as tires and glass powder. The water storage area may or may not cover the entire roof, depending on what’s already there. This eco-friendly roof is only installed on a flat roof or one with very little slope. Nevertheless, when it concerns a gable roof, it’s possible to install a similar system: rainwater harvesting tanks. The rooftop terrace is still the easiest way to implement a blue roof. The space between the pavers and the roof can be used to hold large amounts of water. However, heavier and thicker pavers are required. Also, the paver pedestals are usually customizable, enhancing their practicality. Blue and green roofs are two ecological systems that can be used in conjunction to maximize the use and management of water storage. Considering it as the logical continuation of the green roof, the vegetated basins will take whatever is necessary for their survival and will be fitted with storage tanks to hold rainwater temporarily. Source: Alexa - Pixabay Whether you’re a construction worker or a contractor, installing a blue roof will further your efforts in terms of sustainability and your desire to be socially involved, in addition to helping you save money, both through government financial incentives and utility bills. Moreover, you may also gain a new clientele: one that cares about contributing positively to a sustainable future for generations to come, whether that be human, animal, or plant life.
Karine Dutemple • 06 May 2022
It shouldn’t be a surprise that environmental awareness is trending. On the homefront, many are looking for ways to reduce energy use and increase efficiency. Not only this, but others are interested in alternative ways of living, investing in homes off the beaten path such as tiny homes, trailers, and houseboats. Greywater systems are growing in popularity for green-conscious homeowners, as they are an excellent way to increase a home’s water efficiency. Freshwater shortages are becoming more prevalent across the globe, and installing a greywater system in the home is just one of the ways to combat this. For those living in dry climates, this option is further important. But what exactly is a greywater system and how does it work? We’re here to break it down to make understanding these systems a little bit easier. Everything you need to know about greywater systems What is greywater? We can think about residential water in three categories: freshwater, blackwater, and greywater. Freshwater is naturally occurring water that isn’t seawater or brackish water. This could mean any of the following sources: groundwater, rivers, icebergs, glaciers, and so forth. Blackwater is as it sounds: it is highly toxic and contains a concentration of bacteria. This water comes from your toilet. Greywater is all the leftover wastewater that a home produces. This could be the water from a shower, laundry, washing dishes and so forth. Many home systems are designed to store and reuse this water. What is a greywater system used for? To put it simply, a greywater system takes your home's greywater and diverts this water to other places and purposes, such as water for the garden and irrigating your landscape. Greywater contains traces of dirt, food, hair, and grease. Although these elements are harmful when released into bodies of water, they act as nutrients and fertilizers for plants, grasses, trees and flowers. How do greywater systems work? On its face, the way a greywater system works is not too complex. It’s simple: all of the water from your sinks, showers, and additional drains will be collected in a “surge tank.” The surge tank can take in a lot of water at once, slowing down the flow. Once this water slows down, the solids that have collected in it will settle on the bottom, allowing for the clean water to separate and move on. When it comes to building and designing this system, there are many options. Simplicity is key, and there are ways to build that won’t alter your current plumbing setup. You may consider a gravity-based system that will redirect your water into a surge tank and a basic irrigation system. If you’re in a situation where you’re living on a slope, only then will you maybe need to consider the addition of a mechanical pump. Benefits of a home greywater system As we mentioned, the main benefit of a greywater system is that it’s environmentally friendly. Implementing a greywater system into your home allows it to function in an eco-friendly manner, recycling and reusing water for additional purposes. Many homeowners also cite the money that these systems save. Installing a greywater system can allow for dramatic energy and water bill savings, with the potential to save up to 40,000 gallons of water per year. A bonus for those who use septic tanks is that the use of these systems also helps to prolong the life of your system. Source: Robert Stokoe Common greywater system mistakes If you’re new to the concept of the greywater system or aren’t too sure how to approach it, here are some of the most common mistakes that we’d suggest avoiding. Storing water too long: When greywater is stored too long, or in warm conditions, it can quickly become septic. Once the water becomes septic, it’s unusable. Of course, this is something you don’t want to happen so it’s important to have a system that uses your stored water regularly. Water should not be stored for longer than 24 hours. Not knowing where your greywater is going: When it comes to different greywater systems, some, such as the perforated pipe may not have a clear direction. If you don’t know where your greywater is going, then problems can occur. One of these is the clogging of soil or from roots infiltrating the system. Irrigating the incorrect plants: Greywater is excellent for your trees and flowerbeds. But it’s crucial to mention that you should avoid watering your vegetable garden with it. Also, some lawns cannot handle greywater and require specific equipment for it to be properly dispersed. Make sure to do your research before pouring greywater over everything. Using the wrong equipment: When it comes to the equipment you use, you want to create a greywater system that works with the space. Again, this will require a little bit of time and energy in terms of researching the right method for your home and property. You may also consider hiring an expert to build the system for you, ensuring a positive result!