15 April 2009

Building the eco friendly way - Ground works and in-ground drainage

One of the key requirements for the project was to provide universal access for the clients. This is basically ensuring that as they grow older, they can still get about easily in their house. Keeping the main floor of the house at the one level is key to achieving this. So as you can see above, there has been some minor excavation and filling on site to create a level platform which will become the ground floor and main living area of the house.

The ground floor of the house will be a concrete slab on ground. The main reason behind this was that a concrete floor has excellent thermal mass. To explain thermal mass in simple terms, the concrete slab will be left exposed so that in winter it can absorb the suns heat and become a source of 'free' heating. In summer the reverse occurs, by keeping the slab shaded from the sun, it will become a source of 'free' cooling.

One of the key features of the house is the water saving and re-using strategies. As well as being self reliant for all potable water, the house also incorporates a grey water recycling and re-use system. Grey water is collected from all hand basins, showers, floor wastes and the washing machine and recycled through an OASIS grey water recycling system. The recycled water is then re-used for flushing toilets, in the washing machine and for watering the garden. In the case of the washing machine, the same volume of water will be in a perpetual cycle of use and re-use.

For a grey water recycling system to work however, the grey water needs to be separate from the black water. Put simply, black water is water from your toilet and kitchen sink and grey water comes from all of the other sources. So to keep these separate, two separate drainage systems needs to be installed, one to direct the black water to the sewer and the other to direct the grey water for recycling.

In the image above of the en suite, in the foreground is the waste pipework for the toilet which is being directed to the right to the sewer. In the back ground is the grey water pipework which is picking up the floor waste and hand basin in the middle of the image and the shower at the top of the image. The pipework then continues off to the left at the top of the image to the grey water recycling system. Simple really!

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