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Old 06-20-2012, 02:48 PM
 
2,633 posts, read 6,404,157 times
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Rain barrels are a great, and fairly cost effective for a smaller lot like that., and irrigation will be a significant amount of your water usage. This may or may not translate into significant savings right away, but it does bring the environmentally conscious piece into play. Plus, as you said, new water sources are not likely to be leveraged any time soon, as demand keeps increasing, so will water rates!

You figure, a rain event like today's could fill a single barrel (55 gal) - depending on your roof design, etc. whihc means you'd be able to water the yard twice for free (once for the rain, once with the barrel).
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Old 06-20-2012, 03:02 PM
 
319 posts, read 610,860 times
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Well, I would get the rain water either way so it doesn't count How many days a year does it rain in Austin? Suppose it's a few times a month then that's about 30 times a year. Each time I might collect 55 gallons of water. At .3 cents/gallon that's a savings of only $6.50 a year. Maybe I can do better with a larger collection but you don't want the water sitting there for weeks unless you like mosquitos. Seems like it neither pays for itself nor the maintenance. It's not even clear that it helps the environment, as that water would have seeped into the ground otherwise and either been used by plants around my home or pumped by the city later.
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Old 06-20-2012, 03:20 PM
 
Location: Avery Ranch, Austin, TX
8,977 posts, read 17,572,392 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by balor123 View Post
Well, I would get the rain water either way so it doesn't count How many days a year does it rain in Austin? Suppose it's a few times a month then that's about 30 times a year. Each time I might collect 55 gallons of water. At .3 cents/gallon that's a savings of only $6.50 a year. Maybe I can do better with a larger collection but you don't want the water sitting there for weeks unless you like mosquitos. Seems like it neither pays for itself nor the maintenance. It's not even clear that it helps the environment, as that water would have seeped into the ground otherwise and either been used by plants around my home or pumped by the city later.

W-e-l-l...this debate can go on for a long time; but, I now(as of today's rain) have a full rain barrel that I can use for trees and other plants, not so much for the lawn. The barrel is closed, but a mosquito do-nut is all you need to keep the pesky critters away from the standing water. In a 'typical'(whatever THAT is) Texas gully-washer, the rain would NOT seep into the ground but would run off mightily into the nearest creek, river, stream, storm water abatement system. The 60 gallons I captured this morning is nothing in terms of run-off, except that it kept 60 MORE gallons from flooding the area at the end of the downspout.

Could I just as easily run water from the spigot??? Sure, but I happily use the rain barrel I've had for quite a few years, whether I'm 'saving money' or not. On a large enough scale, it makes sense to hold 'some' water and apply it after a few dry days rather than having multiple inches of run-off during one rain event and THEN nothing for a week or two. At the very least, I can slowly irrigate the trees when it's a dry 100 degrees over next weekend!
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Old 06-20-2012, 04:08 PM
 
4,710 posts, read 7,111,311 times
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If I was building a new house, I would put on a roof that was ideal for rain collection and put in a system with barrels at appropriate locations. I would also route the condensation from my air conditioner to one of those barrels.
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Old 06-20-2012, 04:24 PM
 
2,633 posts, read 6,404,157 times
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Originally Posted by 10scoachrick View Post
At the very least, I can slowly irrigate the trees when it's a dry 100 degrees over next weekend!
Or route one barrel to a soaker hose and save yourself thousands in foundation repairs down the road!

Plus you are not subject to watering restrictions when using this - I've had one barrel at my current home, and putting in a total of 3 at the one I'm building.
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Old 06-20-2012, 04:33 PM
 
Location: The People's Republic of Austin
5,184 posts, read 7,285,297 times
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Don't forget the City rebate for your barrel. Got ours last month and already have the rebate.

Another good benefit is that rainwater is much better for any acid loving plants like azaleas and hydrangeas, compared to our highly alkaline water.
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Old 06-20-2012, 07:17 PM
 
307 posts, read 722,457 times
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And check out this local builders green blog, I think that it is amazing:
Matt Risinger and the Green Building Blog
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Old 06-21-2012, 07:28 AM
 
Location: Buda
97 posts, read 418,194 times
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Well it is starting to sound like this post has moved to a full blown Green Home. At first we were just asked to list a few ideas to ask the builder to do.

So with that in mind where would this home be built? Austin, Buda, Round Rock, Leander, Country?

If you build outside the city limits you have so many more options for instance grey water usage.

Have you already picked a builder? Most builders won't do allot of this stuff. Most builders want to start on a home and finish it as soon as possible. They have a system that works for them and if they have to change it. It will add delays to their building schedule. In their mind delays cost big money. The kind of money that charging more for extra services just won't cover.

So if you don't have a builder yet. I would be looking into one that is answering the questions your trying to get answered here. Chances are if you are requesting it the builder you are talking to won't do it. Or it he will do it. It isn't something he does normally and you will run into problems.

I can not stress this enough. Get ahold of the Dennis Celsor. He can answer all your questions and then some. Here is his website.

Built Green - Home
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Old 06-21-2012, 07:30 AM
 
319 posts, read 610,860 times
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It will be in Northwest Hills and the builder is Brohn homes. I don't own the lot so it's their discretion.
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Old 06-21-2012, 09:43 AM
 
2,633 posts, read 6,404,157 times
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That's going to limit quite a bit of what you can do, between city codes and what the builder will do that won't cost your firstborn! I think you are on the right track for sure, and may want to look at what you can do down the road as a DIY project to reduce your environmental footprint - getting more energy efficient than what your builder is doing is going to be tough for this project.
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