Distributor Project Profile
Rainwater Pillow Installation, La Mesa California
For this project, a rainwater pillow was an obvious choice. The house is on a narrow lot that has a steep slope to the front. There is no space for an above-ground tank, except for in locations that are less than ideal due to visibility and traffic. Similarly, there is no convenient location for an under-ground tank.
Furthermore, this client has limited irrigation needs and therefore the labor costs for excavation would not make sense. When we discovered the accessible crawl space immediately below the best roof area for rainwater collection, we knew a rainwater pillow was the ideal application for this project.
The rainwater collection area includes a flat section of roof with about 1,000 square feet as well as a smaller section toward 1,000 gal under deckthe front. The gutters from these two roof areas are tied together, delivering rainwater to a single downspout. This downspout runs down the side of the house, enters the crawl space below floor level, and then flows into the rainwater pillow. This design means that there are no penetrations to the building envelope. There is an overflow directed outside the building to some shrubs along the walkway, to prevent flooding in the crawlspace.
The pillow holds about 800 gallons when filled to 1.9 ft high and is 10 ft x 6 ft flat. This is the maximum that could fit in this crawl space, but works due to her limited irrigation needs and choice of drought-tolerant plants.
This client has small landscaped areas around the periphery of her patio and potted plants on the patio and front deck. She wished to continue hand-watering these plants, but with the use of rainwater. Her primary watering needs were on the patio and front deck and she wanted hose bibs accessible to both locations. Therefore, our design for her system included running pipe from the pillow to serve hose bibs on both sides of the house. The rainwater is delivered using a Flotec ½ HP pump with a remote control switch.
My favorite comment from the client was that during the first 1,000 gal under deckbig rain after our installation she said: ” I woke up and heard the rain and raced into the utility room to watch my pillow fill with water!”. After she had a chance to use the pillow, she said: “I used the rainwater and it works great!”.
Rich Alianelli and Rosalind Haselbeck, co-owners - Building Green Futures Inc.