Click on [ Examples in Survey ] to see some houses that have used this method. Please note, these examples may be only some of the houses that have used the T&I, browse the All Houses in Survey page to find more.
Hot Water (solar, and tankless/instant):

Using the sun to heat, or preheat, your hot water needs can significantly reduce your energy bills, and carbon footprint. This is one of the most cost effective ways to utilize sunlight. You can build your own system, or buy them ready made. One type of ready made system uses evacuated glass tubes which are partially mirrored on the inside; a heat exchange mechanism is enclosed inside the tube, it extends outside into a manifold where cold water passes over it and is heated—Thermomax is one manufacturer. The number of tubes can be custom configured to meet your needs. A tip: snow is going to block sunlight from reaching the collector/exchanger, and you will probably need to remove snow from it; the roof may not be the best spot to place your system, and it may be worth mounting your system where you can easily remove the snow (this also applies to PV array's). Ellen Lamimin of Energy Solutions, does solar hot water heating systems (509) 996-2763

Tankless/Instant hot water heaters reduce your energy requirements by only heating water when you need it, rather than keeping 40–60 gallons hot continuously. Some instant hot water systems allow you to use preheated water.
Waste water:

Another aspect of sustainable plumbing is the wise use of waste water. Waste water can be divided into two types, blackwater and graywater. Blackwater contains feces, urine, and water with large amounts of food and/or grease; graywater, which is the great majority of waste water created by a house, is all other waste water from shower, laundry, sinks, etc. Blackwater needs significant and careful treatment via septic systems, or municipal sewage treatment (there are alternatives—keep reading). Greywater can be used for flushing toilets, watering plants, etc. (you should use biodegradeable soaps/detergents. Simple filtration may be required or advised). The alternative to making blackwater, is to use a composting toilet. Commercial units are available, or you can build your own ("sawdust" toilets). Another approach to treating blackwater is the commercially designed "Living Machine", which is essentially an indoor wetland—the effluent can be used as graywater, and with further treatment, potable water. Code requirements may force you to have redundent systems.


A final, general recommendation is to try to avoid the use of PVC piping. Stabilizers and softeners, such as the heavy metals cadmium, and antimony, and organic compounds pthalates (DEHP, etc.) in PVC are known to cause health problems. Also, if PVC burns, a number very dangerous compounds are formed. There is no safe way to dispose of PVC, and it is difficult to recycle. Alternatives, like PEX and other plastics, or metal piping, should be considered.