Systemic analysis of water uses and technology in home

Description: With this proposed exercise we seek to understand the system of water use in the physical and technological aspects within the home, because we believe that this way it will be easier to develop solutions that can impact the way in which the water is used,discarded and processed. We could take advantage of it to make a better management of the interior of the home by exchanging or used these flows. Once this process is finished, we will identify which are the critical points in which we can generate change proposals and start a prototyping stage.

potential impact: the impact of this project could occur in two important aspects: The first in the homes already constituted to generate a technological element that allows without needing a large installation to manage the consumption and uses of water within the home. The second option is a system for the construction of new homes in which since the manufacture of the home these flows are being controlled with simple elements installed that can solve the problems encountered.

Proposed Outcomes: A deep understanding of home appliances, technical solutions connected to the whole system use-transformation-disuse. Scalable proposals to different types of households, both urban and rural, and possibly transferable to commercial and productive systems.

People and resources: engineers, users and consumers, designers, architects and all those who believe can contribute to the development of the solution. Above all, the desire to work and contribute to the solve this problem.

1 Like

Are there any data for water usage by demographic, by sector and/or by location/area? I found a very rough map of usage by area on Green Times but it’s very sketchy. It would be good to get some metrics - in an easily understandable format.

1 Like

PS I think you mean analysis? :wink:

1 Like

Hey @RicardoRug, I think this is similar to the idea I had of creating an “Open Water Building Standard”. This is good to map out because you can look at all the sources and sinks of water, and you can add looping systems like @thomas, gray water systems and black water systems. I saw a home design for a black water treatment plant using a series of low cost ICB tanks…but the water flowed out to resoak the land. Instead, I would take the water and maybe have a few more layers of treatment then loop it back up to the toilets. But this requires space to do…so you need at least a house with a big back yard. Stellenbosch Sustainability Institute develope d a variant of this which uses worm composting in the initial stage, followed by a few water tanks afterwards. I still have to go visit it.

There’s a PhD thesis from Technical University of Hamburg TUHH where black and gray water loops were tested.
blackwater loop - water eff and nturient recovery combined.pdf (1.4 MB)

But I spoke to Joachim Behrendt who said that these systems are quite high tech and only work for 200+ homes, shopping centres, office buildings. They don’t work for individual home.

Here’s another paper on grey water looping
gray water reclamation using solar thermal energy 7_Hartwig.pdf (1.7 MB)

Actually, in such an Open Water Building Standard, I wonde if waste should be shown as a parallel stream? Because it can be completely decoupled from water if it’s dry toilet system. If it’s not decoupled, then it has to be included in with the water stream.

In our open source ecohome project, I have felt that I should show circular nexus flows of Water-Energy-Food-Waste. These are all entangled so I think we should take a diagram and entangle all these loops, because each has implications for the other. For instance Food becomes direct compost, and indirect compost (through feces) so becomes waste. Urine is waste, but nutrients can be recovered from all of these, but require treatment. So what is “waste” from one living being in the ecosystem (human being) becomes food for another (worms, microbes).So maybe it’s good to show this recontextualization from waste-to-food as a function of biological species at the interface. This nexus all comes together in the climate battery. hack of the open source ecohome. Water is conserved through the ventilation pipes that draw the air back down into the ground, where it condenses to give up moisture to the roots. This is recycling the air from plant evapo-transpiration back into the root system! If we cover the bottom layer of the buried soil with a super absorbent wicking bed, that would possibly conserve water even more. @MPThompson, what do you think? Then the air is also drawn down into the ground. The soil acts as a thermal battery - conserving passive solar radiation in the winter and cooling in the summer. Obviously, the indoor food forest provides food to us. I’m hoping that Michael can do the design so that it can even warm the entire house in winter, but we may have to find a way to contend with humidity. If we dehumidify though, that is precious water as well that must be conserved.

1 Like

On my Master degree i Work on one course on the creation of an analysis of the different systems in home like you say water, Energy, heat, air, food, all related to nature and human activities. Yes is really important to create all the relations on this analysis. What we want to develop is some appliance very economy and easy to install in home. One of the principal problems we see on new technologies are that some propose several changes on instalation and construction and some replaces the actual technology dificult the change.

Hey Ricardo,

This is like taking a Nexus approach, but applying it at the residential home level instead of macro-level. In fact, nexus at different scales are all important…home, community, city , region, bioregion.

I think of circular flows…try to create circular flows at the most local level, then expand outwards if it isn’t possible at the most local level…push it to the next level out…community…if that is still not possible, go up to the next level, etc…

1 Like

@thomas, Tinyloop would fit into Ricardo’s architecture.

I’m testing my tech over next few weeks. If it works, it could fit in here as well for converting gray water or rainwater into potable water:

1 Like