Following our Trust Agreement with the Evergreen Land Trust, Prag House is committed to minimizing our resource usage and using sustainable options where possible. To these ends, we have installed solar panels, a rainwater reclamation system, low flow toilets and shower heads, and try to maximize our composting and recycling capacities. We are excited to share a little about our systems to show how easy they are for you to set up for yourself!
Solar panel array
Water Reclamation System
The rainwater reclamation system is a multipart set-up that gathers and stores rainwater for non-potable use. A 5000 gallon storage tank sits in the backyard, connected to every downspout from the house. Water is directed from the roof into underground piping that leads to a sump, behind the tank. The sump filters the rainwater and pumps it into the main tank. The system is connected to the house's five toilets through it's own Pex lines, and to the exterior hose spigots. There is also an overflow line from the main tank, also underground, that leads to a rain garden on the north side of the house.
We were able to do most of the digging and trenching ourselves, and hired a company called RainBank Rainwater Systems to do the plumbing and installation.
RainBank was great, and the system is excellent. The whole thing filled up in just a few days of Seattle rain, and the stored water is great for summer gardening.
We have a 26 panel array using Solar World 295 watt modules (7.67 KW), with Enphase S280 Micro- inverters in portrait on the South and West faces of the house roof. The panels are mounted on a site-constructed SunModo aluminum racking system and Grid Tied. (Shout out to West Seattle Natural Energy for help with the installation!)
The system connects to our existing panel through a new breaker box, and is set up in such a way that power goes back to the city if too much is generated. Ideally, the panels let us break even annually on electrical use, which means a lot of energy savings for 12 people living in a three story house.
Both systems were painless to install, and both contractors that helped us were great. The initial costs were not low, but the cost saving over time makes up for it. Minimizing the environmental impact is something significant to consider.
Feel free to get in touch with us if you are interested in learning more.