Use of grey water in New Zealand


10-stars Homestar House, Christchurch / New Zealand


Greywater recycling


Mayor Lianne Dalziel personally opened this new Environmental House in Addington, Christchurch. This special house has been awarded the highest possible rating of 10 stars in the "Homestar Rating". It is the first house in New Zealand to achieve this perfect result. Mayor Lianne Dalziel "This is important to Christchurch, New Zealand, and the planet - because this is the future."

The Homestar Rating is an independent certification system that determines how environmentally friendly, energy efficient and healthy a home is. It is also a demonstration for the "Superhome Movement" to debunk the myth that environmentally friendly, energy efficient homes are too expensive. It is equally important that the running costs and the overall ecological footprint of a building are minimal. Superhome promoter and architect Bob Burnett rightly asks: "Why can't all New Zealand homes be like this?

The house in Church Square has up to 20 innovations for sustainable features that are new to New Zealand, says Burnett. To qualify for the 10-Star Homestar rating, all conditions had to be met. "The necessary last three points we needed were given to us by the grey water recycling"

Vanessa McGrath, manager of the New Zealand Green Building Council's Homestar Rating Tool, said: "We definitely encourage grey water to be recycled "the amount of drinking water and also the amount of water going into the sewerage system will be greatly reduced.

The INTEWA AQUALOOP grey water recycling system collects water from wash basins, showers and baths. It is recycled to a very high water quality without the use of chemicals, mixed with rainwater and then reused for toilet flushing, the washing machine and garden taps. Grey water recycling and rainwater system designer, Martin Pfaff of Aloaqua in Christchurch: "The wonderful thing about the system is that it is modular, we can easily adapt the components to the size of the project and the water consumption".

Since moving from Germany to New Zealand eleven years ago, Mr. Pfaff has been a proponent of modern water-saving technologies. "It's great to see how people are beginning to understand that it's better to use recycled water for many household purposes instead of flushing good drinking water down the toilet. It's better for the environment and infrastructure" The AQUALOOP system is designed and manufactured in Germany and meets strict British and European grey water quality standards.

A house needs more than 95 out of 100 points to get the perfect rating. This house in historic Church Square, Addington is virtually perfect - a home with almost no electricity bills and yet cosy and warm in winter. Some of the other measures include - a fully insulated foundation, triple-glazed PVC windows, passive solar heating, photovoltaic modules for energy and hot water heating, as well as underfloor heating, waste water heat recovery in the shower, rainwater harvesting and percolating outdoor surfaces.

Photos and text from Gaylene Barnes

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