The primary heater for domestic water is pictured above. There are two steel water heater cores, painted black and connected in series so that one flows into the other and then goes on to supply hot water in the house. The enclosure is insulated on all sides but the front, where dual pane glass is installed. This arrangement provides a much more reliable supply of hot water than a single tank would. In the distance you can see the PV array that provides all of the electricity for the homestead.
Rainwater is collected in a large, mostly underground cistern and used for irrigation. It flows directly into the tank via the 4 inch PVC pipe pictured above. There is a self-flushing course screen filter to keep most debris out.
In addition, there is a first flush arrangement that will collect the first bit of water off the roof that tends to be dirtier. As this water drains into the small suspended tank, it will eventually get heavy enough tip the balance, so that the water will then be diverted directly into the cistern. After the rain has finished the dirty water can be used to water plants and the system is reset for the next storm. Pretty clever!
The cistern is composed of commercial tanks similar to what was used for the mini cold frame/greenhouses. These have been bermed into the side of the hill and covered with wattle and daub to protect the plastic and eliminate any light that would promote algae.
The next, and final, stop on our tour will be a uniquely outfitted Airstream trailer. Stay tuned.