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Greywater Recycling Adds Essential Points to NZ’s First 10-Star Homestar Home
Picture: NZGBC Homestar ratings manager Vanessa McGrath discuss the advantages of Greywater Recycling with system designer Martin Pfaff from ALOAQUA in Christchurch.
The launch of a new home in Addington, Christchurch has been welcomed by Mayor Lianne Dalziel. This eco-home is certified with the highest possible rating of 10 stars in the Homestar ratings guide. It was the installation of an AQUALOOP greywater recycling system that enabled the home to move from a 9- star to a 10-star. This system enables the home to recycle 450l a day, thus reducing the burden on the potable water supply.
"This 'Superhome' is the first home in New Zealand to achieve a near perfect score", Mayor Lianne. Dalziel notes that it "is important for Christchurch, for New Zealand, and actually the planet – because this is the future."
The Homestar rating is an independent certification system that determines how environmentally sound, energy efficient, and healthy a home is. It is also a demonstration home for the Superhome movement - which aims to debunk the myth that environmentally responsible homes are too expensive. The ongoing running costs of a home and the entire ecological footprint of a building are just as important according to Superhome promoter and architect Bob Burnett "no power bills – why can't all New Zealand houses be like this?!"
The house in Church Square has up to 20 innovations of sustainable features that are new to New Zealand, says Burnett. "We had to tick all the boxes to get to a 10- star Homestar rating and one of the last things was the greywater – which gave us the extra 3 points we needed."
Vanessa McGrath is the Manager of the Homestar ratings tools of the New Zealand Green Building Council, she says "we definitely encourage greywater recycling where its appropriate for the building. Greywater recycling reduces the amount of potable water going into the house and it also reduces the amount of water going into sewerage."
The Intewa Aqualoop greywater recycling system collects the hand basin, shower and bath water, treats it without the use of chemicals to a high standard, and then combines it with rainwater where it is reused, in this instance, in the toilets, laundry and irrigation. Greywater recycling and rainwater harvesting system designer, Martin Pfaff from Aloaqua in Christchurch says the beauty of the system is that it is modular "we can arrange the components to suit the size of the project and how people use their water."
Martin has been advocating water conservation since moving to New Zealand from Germany eleven years ago. "It's great to see people are starting to see that it's better to use recycled water for some household purposes and not to flush 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 stringent British and Euopean greywater quality standards.
A home needs over 95 points out of a possible 100 to gain a near perfect score, and this house in historic Church Square, Addington is near perfect - a home with virtually no power bills and yet still cosy and warm in the winter. Some of the other features include – a fully insulated foundation pad, high spec triple glazed PVC windows, passive solar design, photovoltaic panels for energy and hot water heating which also services the underfloor heating, wastewater heat recovery in the shower, rainwater harvesting, and permeable landscaping.
Aloaqua are giving public presentations on how greywater treatment and recycling works, click here for more info.
Photos and Text by Gaylene Barnes