This summer, give your local water supply a break by catching rainwater for watering your yard and garden. It's low-tech, passive, and the yield of water from one rainfall can be phenomenal. A barrel or two under your gutter downspouts is the quick and easy solution, but if you're looking for a better looking rainwater storage system, you need to check out the Rainwater HOG.
Architect Sally Dominguez, from Sydney, Australia, designed the Rainwater HOG as a modular rainwater storage system to store water in small spaces, such as under houses or against walls. The story is that she wanted to store water horizontally, under a patio, but the water tank salesman told her that it couldn't be done. She didn't listen to him, and set out to come up with a solution to solve her problem. Her design is simply awesome - a flat tank that fits between joists and can be connected in series to store as much water as you have room for.
Each HOG tank has a capacity of 51 gallons, a footprint of 1.3 sq ft, and stands 6 ft tall (if you use them vertically). The modules will fit under decks, against fences or walls, or probably any place that you can secure one in your yard. The tanks are made from virgin food grade polyethylene, and come in only one color, olive green, which will go a long way toward blending in with the greenery in your yard.
The other great use for the HOG is as thermal mass - storing heat from the sun to be released into your house as it cools off in the evening. Called the Ground HOG in this application, the same HOG used for rainwater catchment can be installed and simply filled with water and capped. According to Sequoien, the Ground HOG outperforms concrete of the same area by at least 10% when installed as recommended. The HOG can be installed between floor joists, in direct contact with the underside of the floor, and then insulated underneath to keep heat loss to a minimum.
Rainwater HOG was picked as one of the top 10 green building products of 2008, and recently won an award from California Home + Design Magazine for Eco-Product Design. For more information, see Beautiful Useful Green. To find a HOG dealer near you, hop on over to the HOG website.