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April 2009

Compliments of OasisHybridHomes.com

November 2008
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March 2009


Fresh Water Supply for the Home by Collecting Rain Water!

     The Hybrid Home is an Oasis because of the household water design features embedded in the structure. These features truly make the house like an Oasis, complete with a collection and storage place for man’s and the planet’s most important resource: WATER !!!

     Much more effort and many more dollars have been spend on making the Oasis Hybrid Home “water independent” than "power independent".

     This is important here in Montana and it will be important in the design of any independent home located in an area that receives less than sixteen inches of precipitation a year.

     The Hybrid Homes sports a complete, whole house potable rainwater collection, storage and filtration system. In addition, we installed a natural gray water recycling system, which is another element that is absolutely necessary on the road to independence for any structure built in a semi-desert or desert location. But even in water rich areas it is a good idea to collect and manage your own potable water source.

     Today we will tell you how we collect, store and filter that beautiful transparent liquid we call water that falls from our skies to quench our thirst and wash our skin, for free!!

Clean Water Is a Necessity

     When we look at how most of our buildings receive water for their faucets, it is no wonder we have to pay substantially for that service. This is complicated!! Follow the path of the water and you are in for a surprising journey!

     Rain falls from our sky unto the earth’s surface to wash and feed animal, plant and human alike, which is nature’s beautifully circular way to give and nourish freely.

     As humans we have stepped out of nature’s way of circular giving and have created a mess, which is now coming to haunt us in the form of polluted resources that WE need in order to survive! Along with stepping away from nature’s ways, we have also forgotten about that boomerang effect resulting from our actions, or the laws of returning karma, as some call it.

     Now we are starting to realize that the rain that falls from the sky is doing a clean-up job along with feeding and nourishing life on earth. As the blessed rain hits the ground and follows gravity to eventually arrive in the oceans, it washes and cleans mother earth from pesticides, gasoline and oil, coolant and house hold cleaners, industrial and other man made chemicals, along with sewage that have been produced and disposed of, without realizing that we will later on EAT or DRINK it!

     Well, take the example of the “Milwaukee” potable water disaster in 1993, where 400,000 people got sick and 100 died, because of contaminated drinking water. (Check out the “Milwaukee cryptosporidium epidemic”) This ordeal was a wake-up call to the nation as a whole and resulted in more water treatment, heavier sterilization, more testing and monitoring of drinking water supplies.

     That is a good and very expensive thing -- but why would we let our potable water do a clean-up job first -- then spend money to purify and then drink it? This is like cleaning your toilet, saving that water, running it through a purifier and then drinking it. (By the way, do not forget to add some chlorine and fluoride because it makes the water healthier!) That seems a long round-about way to quench you thrust -- if instead, you could simply hold your glass out the window and get a drink – just like that!

     Of course, many people use purifiers or bottled water to supply their needs, but we do not put purifiers on our shower heads or bathtub faucets. The human skin also has a great capability to absorb pollutants from anything it contacts.

Designing the System

     Considering this, it seems to make a lot of sense to be in control of our own drinking water supply, so we did it! When designing a rain water collection system, water storage needs to be considered right away. To be independent, we need to design the storage so that it is large enough to hold the necessary water for the entire household, even to bridge the driest period of the year. Next, the roof area needs to be large enough to fill the needed storage capacity completely, before the dry period begins. To determine the appropriate sizes, you need some knowledge of your local weather – which months produce heavy, light or no precipitation. This data can be obtained from the U.S Department of Energy website. By giving you the following rough numbers, you may be able to determine what is needed for your situation:

     A 1,200 sq. ft. roof (measured under a horizontal plane) will collect about 650 gallons of water for each inch of rain landing on it. A family of four uses 60,000 gallons of water a year, without implementing any water saving measures. Forty percent of that is used for toilet flushing!

     Obviously, any water saving features you can install in your home will help reduce the necessary water storage capacity number. Once you know the necessary storage amount and the required roof area for your collected rainwater -- it is time to get your hands dirty.

     At the Oasis, we installed a gray water recycling system and many other water saving features. We needed to collect 10,000 gallons of water, while practicing conscientious water usage, to carry us through the dry months (mid-July to mid-September). To store that much water while living in frigid Montana, we had to bury tanks that hold 10,000 gallons, directly below the roof down spouts to create the shortest possible route for water to travel from the gutters to the tanks. The over-sized hydronically heated gutters are designed to also capture snow and transfer it as water directly into the tanks.

     To prevent large debris and insects from entering the tanks, we installed a screen and placed sand and rock in the gutter and over the downspouts, as a first line of defense.

     All tanks are installed at the same level and connected with a “leveling” pipe, so that the contents in all tanks remain at the same level, almost acting as one reservoir. The pump to pressurize the house is placed in one of the tanks. That tank also contains a low-level float and a motorized valve, which will tell a back-up well (or, maybe in your case, the city water supply) to place gallons of water into the tank when needed.

     Before rainwater enters the house, it is filtered through a twenty micron and a three micron particle filter and a ultra-violet lamp filter. By the time the water comes out of the faucets, it is clean, disinfected, tastes fabulous and of course is free of chlorine, fluoride, calcium or iron deposits.


     As additional benefit, having that much water -- readily available for your personal use -- is for wild fire protection. With an on-site pump and long hose, you can keep a grass fire at bay! Under less stressful circumstances, bathing, showering and drinking my own harvested rain water gives me a great feeling of pureness and connectedness with nature. I highly recommend it!!

     We here at the Oasis would be happy to help you design, plan and install a rain water collection system. We also sell blueprints, which illustrate the concept and provide all the necessary details. We hope you too will soon enjoy all the benefits to rain water collection and use.

Warm greetings from a lush Oasis!


     Our newsletter is a free contribution to encourage education and grassroots discussion with the goal to better the earth for us and future generations.   

     Thank you for taking your time to read this newsletter! I hope you will come back to visit us next month, when we will talk about fresh rainwater collection.

Call for help

     If you are in the market for an existing home or are looking for a lot to build a new one and would like my assistance in evaluating the property for maximum element-gathering capabilities, please contact me at 406-223-1406.  You can also contact me if you would like help with any of the elements explained above, or to build your own oasis hybrid home, which is designed to include all the above considerations and custom-fitted to your site location.

Ask A Question

     Please join me for the tour and fire off your questions for our mid month frequently asked questions and answers portion of our newsletter to pouwel@oasishybridhomes.com


Pouwel Smiling
Pouwel Gelderloos, Designer,
Builder and Founder
of Oasis Hybrid Homes.com




Snow is Harvested as Water




roof panels
Rainwater Collectors on Roof




Roof Corners




Barrells to Hold Rainwater




Cover For Underground Barrels




Part of Gray Water System




Oasis Hybrid Renewable Energy Home
Oasis Hybrid Home



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