Visit to Fishnet Aquaponics 5-day course tomorrow

Tomorrow I will be going to Watsonville to visit Jon Parr’s 5-day intensive course on AQUAPONICS.

He has asked me to talk to his class about greywater and aquaponics, he will have a hard time getting me to shut up!


Greywater, Aquaponics, other “hacks” that are living machines, bioengineering, nutrient
                       pollution, detergents, opportunities
Aquaponics and the Zero-Energy House
                       solar pumps, solar bubblers, air lift hybrid pumping, redundancy, wicking beds,
                       capillary action, systolic pumps,
                       get biological systems do your work, why net-zero solar is greenwashing,
                       greywater bogs, constructed wetlands, aquaponic wetlands
                        ecosystems services
Aquaponics and the Zero-Water House
                      air still, greywater, rainwater, blackwater, constructed wetlands, living machines,
                      indoor use of greywater, potable water cross-connection problem, sand filters,
                      biomat, Living Machines (the Company)
Energy and modern agriculture
Water and modern agriculture
Sustainable design and aquaponics , no two will be alike, site specific, species specific

2013 Plumbing Code / Make Up Water / Stanford Solar Decathlon


Hi, I am Roy Nordblom, I was a General Contractor for 14 years, but now my license (#756438) is in “inactive” state and I tell people I am retired from contracting.  I am a consultant now.  I was one of the first GREEN GENERAL CONTRACTORS, and now I am one of the first SUSTAINABLE CONSTRUCTION CONSULTANTS.

I would love to meet with you and the TEAM and knock out the final details.  I will be up on the Peninsula on Monday, could we meet mid-dayish?? Wednesday is also possible for me.
Also, I notice the diagram at the bottom of Martin’s email labeled  2013-06-12 11..31.00.jpg.   Hey, isn’t that a diagram from the 1997 Plumbing Code?    Sheesh, like a nightmare ghost, that repudiated proto-greywater design keeps showing up.  I suggest not basing any designs on this 16 year-old diagram! 
However, it is not available ONLINE until July 1, 2013 (two more weeks) 

The most recent ONLINE version available from IAPMO is 2007, here is link to Chapter 16:

I do have bits and pieces of the new Plumbing Code, coming out in two weeks, one of the more exciting pieces is that we can now do make-up water through our greywater systems, rather than having to do two parallel systems, one for greywater, one for freshwater.  We could not do it before because of the concern of cross-connection – coupling a greywater system with the potable water system and possible back-flows.  But we have been fighting this fight for years, and have finally won!
Here is the relevant text from the 2013 Plumbing Code:

1602.3 Connections to Potable and Reclaimed (Recycled) Water Systems.
Gray water systems shall have nodirect unprotected connection to a potable water supply, on-site treated nonpotable water supply, or reclaimed(recycled) water systems. Potable, on-site treated nonpotable, or reclaimed (recycled) water, or rainwater is permitted to be used as makeup water for a non-pressurized storage tank provided the connection is protected by an airgap, reduced-pressure principle backflow preventer, or other physical device which prevents backflow in accordance with this code.

So now we can do real irrigation with our greywater systems, I strongly suggest investigating this for the SOLAR DECATHLON house.

An exciting consequence is that by putting the make-up fresh water into the dripperline after the greywater has gone through it is that the freshwater will provide auto cleansing of the greywater dripper line, which we could never do before…


Aquaponics Workshop in San Jose this weekend

This Saturday Jon Parr and I will be co-teaching a workshop on Aquaponics at ELSEE, the Environmental Laboratory for Sustainability and Ecological Education. (in reality I will be enjoying Jon Parr’s great intro workshop from a very close vantage point, and acting as his assistant in the hands-on portion) Check out the link:

Then at noon, my Urban Farming MeetUp will be having an aquaponics workshop, potluck lunch, and produce share event. Check out the link here:

Stanford SOLAR DECATHLON greywater plumbing Aqua2Use

Greenbuilding Expert <>
2:00 PM (0 minutes ago)

to Derek, Felipe, Erica, Danny, Martin, Rob, Nick, Brandon, Pablo
Email today with Derek and the team at the Stanford Solar Decathlon.  I visited the cool little eco-house under construction yesterday at Stanford.  I am one of the mentors for this great project, check out the link:


I saw the snakelike collection of ABS fittings duct-taped together.  Kool!
However, I recommend that it not be used.  Picture this:  the ABS is only used inside the walls.  The ABS ends as a stub sticking out of the wall. A flexible hose of the correct diameter is then slipped over the rigid stub and a metal compression band is tightened down over the connection, sealing it water-tight.  All of the piping in the unconditioned space right around the Aqua2Use should be flexible hose with mechanical compression bands, not rigid ABS.  So picture your  ABS octopus suddenly constructed of clear reinforced vinyl tubing, brass barbed fittings, and compression bands…

First of all it needs to be periodically removed and serviced and cleaned out, how can you with glued fittings?  A complicated set of unions?  Hmmmm.  Also, gluing it up is going to be a nightmare.  Image four different pipes being glued to the same box from different directions.  Ouch, it is a difficult puzzle, which one to glue first, which ways will prove impossible, etc.

Second, if you solvent glue it in, it becomes a FIXTURE, part of the house.  Building Code.  3″ concrete pad.  If it is NOT permanently affixed, if it is designed to be lifted out and serviced or replaced, it is an AMENITY, not a fixture.  No concrete pad. 

Third, once it is constructed in flexible tubing, installation (and removal) become MUCH MUCH easier (trust me on this one). 

Fourth, hard to build properly with rigid ABS, easy to build with graceful curves from flexible piping material.


Hacking Sustainably vs Sustainability Hacker

Sustainable Hacker.  One who hacks sustainably?  Or should I be the Sustainability Hacker, because in fact most of my inventions are really just hacks in the sustainability sector?  Hmmmm, please leave a comment.  I will be posting on AQUAPONICS, which is a wonderful hack that marries the terrestrial biome with the aquatic.  My next post after that will likely be on GREYWATER, which is another wonderful hack that drips sustainability.  I will be posting about 12 VOLT lightweight off-grid lighting systems, which are a hacker’s heaven. In order to re-invent everything, we are going to have to do a bit of tinkering first. and I like to play with my toys hard. I disassemble them and put them back together in novel (and often better ways than they were).

I am hoping to attract kindred spirits, with a hacker’s mentality and a sustainable bent and share their secrets with the group.


Together we teach each other how to do urban agriculture and aquaponics and cradle-to-cradle design.