Net Zero Energy & High Performance Homes
How BARR Plastics is using Rainwater Harvesting & Stormwater Management to revolutionize household energy consumption.
A brand new, comfortable family home in Abbotsford, BC can now also be a cutting-edge, high-performance, energy-saving resource. We at BARR Plastics (located in Abbotsford, BC, and serving North America) have partnered with SonBuilt Custom Homes to provide unique ways to build better homes from the ground up, supplying and incorporating infrastructure that’s good for the planet and great for your wallet. Welcome to The Vine at Pepin Brook – homes built for the future.
Image courtesy of SonBuilt Custom Homes Ltd.
SonBuilt and BARR have worked together on several sites now to create what has been coined the Net Zero Energy Home. These are homes built so efficiently that most or all of the energy consumption is offset by renewable energy, utilizing resources such as rainwater harvesting, solar panels, and more to create a multi-faceted energy-efficient system.
The unique components of the Net Zero Energy Home include:
Storm Water Management
Heat Recovery Ventilator
High-Performance Wall System
Tankless Water Heater
Triple Glazed Windows
The Vine will feature 16 brand new homes, with some incorporating all of the above features to create a Net Zero Energy Home. Others will utilize several of the above features and be built to High-Performance Standards.
While SonBuilt provides the construction expertise and design capabilities for the home itself, BARR Plastics fits into the equation by outfitting each home with rainwater harvesting and stormwater management systems. Our combination systems work in tandem to collect plentiful rainwater from the roof of the home, providing water for common household tasks like flushing toilets, irrigation, and other outdoor uses.
Overflow from this tank will flow into the stormwater detention tank.
Here’s how we do it:
Using the roof area, rainwater is collected via downspout into a 6,500 L (1,700 USG) collection tank. Through a process of filtering and pumping throughout the house, this water is then used for flushing toilets, irrigating the property, and washing vehicles.
Image courtesy of BARR Plastics Inc, SonBuilt Custom Homes Ltd, and Otto Graf GmbH
We at BARR have chosen to provide the GRAF Carat S tank for use in all 16 installations at The Vine development; this is due to the unique materials and construction that go into this tank. The Carat S is manufactured by injection compression moulding using Duralen®, a high-quality food-grade polypropylene material that is extremely rigid and impact resistant. These qualities make the Carat S an ideal candidate for underground rainwater harvesting due to its particularly durable and long-lasting nature. Duralen® is also easily recycled, reducing waste and contributing to the environmentally friendly nature of the home. Finally, these tanks are lab-tested and proven to have a service life of at least 25 years, making this a permanent and reliable add-on to your property’s water usage system. The filter system included in the Carat S is the GRAF Optimax-Pro, a filter designed specifically for use in the Carat tank. This filter is compact, low-maintenance, self-cleaning, and has a water yield of over 95%. Sediment and debris are filtered out of the rainwater collected from the roof of the home into the tank, where it is then pumped into the home for use throughout.
How the Carat S and Optimax-Pro work together for the highest water quality
A 4 stage cleaning process provides optimal water quality and retention, providing you with water that’s very low in sediment and other debris.
The collected rainwater flows through the Optimax-Pro filter system; the cleaned water then flows into the tank and any remaining particles and other undesirable materials are rinsed into the sewer system with a small amount of water.
The filtered water is routed into the tank through a calming inlet which directs the incoming water to the bottom of the tank. This process adds oxygen to the water at the base of the tank and also prevents fine sediments from being disturbed. This keeps the majority of the water left in the tank clean and fresh.
Residual materials that are lighter than water, such as pollen, form a floating layer on the surface of the tank’s water collection. An overflow siphon allows this floating layer of water to be removed when the tank overflows. This is why it’s important to allow regular overflow of the tank to ensure continued water quality throughout the life cycle of the tank.
Since the cleanest water is found around 10 cm (4”) below the water surface, a floating extraction unit near the top of the tank removes water for usage.
The rainwater harvesting system’s vital overflow feature connects in part to a 20 cubic meter underground stormwater detention tank, which slowly releases into the storm sewer. Stormwater detention refers to a tank or system where runoff is temporarily detained and very gradually released into the sewer system. These systems reduce the heavy flows of storm events; the system utilized at The Vine is designed and sized to handle a 100-year storm event.
Image courtesy of Otto Graf GmbH
BARR Plastics provided the GRAF EcoBloc Inspect smart system, comprised of detention modules that fit together to create a full detention tank. These modules are GRAF’s latest venture into streamlining their previous models of infiltration/detention modules for easier inspection, greater load-bearing, and labour-saving installation. The Inspect smart modules are unique in that they can be buried deeper than any model before them, providing more options for the locations of stormwater systems. In addition to this, the new smart modules save time during installation with their simple and effortless click-together system; assembly is quicker and easier than with the EcoBloc’s previous models.
While in this case the smart block was only used in a residential area, the Ecobloc smart is suitable for up to HS-25 vehicle loading, with loads in excess of this also being possible with ideal installation conditions. This makes the EcoBloc smart an ideal option for industrial areas with high traffic and large, heavy vehicles.
The EcoBloc Inspect smart modules are installed with base plates, end plates, and connectors to create the full tank system. The modules are wrapped with geotextile and an LLDPE plastic lining, as seen below in the site photos from one of the installations at The Vine. The geotextile protects the plastic lining and retains the water moving through the tank.
Images courtesy of BARR Plastics Inc & SonBuilt Custom Homes Ltd
How the EcoBloc Inspect smart detention system works
While stormwater management can also be achieved with drainage gravel, the EcoBloc system provides three times the storage volume of standard drainage gravel. This high-quality system saved money on expensive soil and gravel excavation, providing a higher standard for stormwater detention in less time and with fewer expenses. This is an important component in the value of the home as well, as it adds an environmentally sustainable edge and prevents compromised soil structure.
Image courtesy of Otto Graf GmbH
The water siphoned off from the rainwater collection reservoir that is free of debris is then moved slowly through the stormwater tank, which is only closed off on the sides and bottom, allowing the water to trickle through the tank and be slowly reintroduced to the ground. This allows prolonged stability and mimics a more natural water seepage. This allows the natural environment to adapt and prevents the risks of ground instability and flooding.
The inclusion of stormwater management also helps keep groundwater levels stable; home building seals that ground and lowers the natural groundwater level, breaking the natural cycle. This environmentally sensitive method of disposing of rainwater also allows groundwater restoration, making the EcoBloc Inspect smart stormwater management system the perfect complement to the GRAF Carat S rainwater harvesting setup.
The finished product? An environmentally sound rainwater harvesting system that will last your family home for years to come.
Image courtesy of BARR Plastics Inc & SonBuilt Custom Homes Ltd
Need More Information?
Get expert advice, on-site technical assistance, and top-quality products when you go through BARR Plastics for all of your Rainwater Harvesting & Stormwater Management needs. We will guide you through the process and provide everything you need for the most efficient, practical, and lasting system around. Whether you’re looking for residential, commercial, or industrial purposes, we’ve got a solution for you.
Data and technical specifications courtesy of BARR Plastics Inc, SonBuilt Custom Homes Ltd, and Otto Graf GmbH