Pioneer: Jody Drew's
by Doug Pushard
you ever dreamed about living off the grid and enjoying a totally
self-sufficient lifestyle in a house you helped build?
Jody Drew is living her dream.
of dreaming and a ton of hard work came to reality in 2003. She
harvests both rainwater and solar energy to live
simply and more sustainably.
1,187 square foot (110 sq. meter) metal roof for catching
· 2 - 6,000 (22,740 liter ) gallon polyproprene storage
· Low-water use clothes washer
· 1.6 gallon (6 liter) toilet
· No dishwasher
· Submerged pump house
· DC-powered Flowlight pump (model #2910-24)
· 40 gallon pressure tank
· 10 micron filter
· Ceramic filter
· UV lamp (Coastal Filtration UV 4)
· Greywater irrigation system
· Septic system for black water
house was planned and built to be almost totally self-sufficient
in the off-the-grid community
of Lamy. The community was named after Archbishop J.B.
Lamy, character in Willa Cather's "Death Comes for the Archbishop."
most of the houses have a well, Jody choose to go with a rainwater
dream house began in 2001 as just that - a dream. Previously,
she resided in Seattle and really, really wanted to become more
self-sufficient. Her favorite catalog was the Real Goods catalog,
with which she would dream of all the things she would do if only
she could. He dream started to become a reality when she moved
to the Santa Fe area in 2001. She seized on the change as an opportunity
to turn her long sought after vision into a reality.
bought a lot in Lamy, a small rural community, outside of Santa
Fe, New Mexico. She started planning in late 2001 and early 2002
and was assisted by local solar house designer Karen Terry. She
began construction in 2002 and completed it in 2003. She knew
water was going to be a problem in the arid southwest. Living
off the grid meant the water system needed to be extremely energy
efficient and she wanted no chemicals used to purify the water.
designed and assisted in building her rain water system and it
proved to be one of the most difficult aspects of the project.
She found little information published on designing a total end-to-end
small household water system.
add to her dilemma, the plumber had never seen one of these systems
and had no idea how the components worked together to create a
home water system, so Jody did most of the work herself.
Water Company of Santa Fe helped her with the filtration
system. "Most prepackaged systems were too expensive and
too big for her needs,
so buying and assembling components was the only way possible
Jody's objectives," according to Troy Cucchiara of Good Water
Jody uses rainwater for all her needs. Rain falls on her metal
roof and is silently conveyed to her above ground storage tanks
by beautiful metal gutters. Before water enters the pressure tank
it is filtered with a 10 micron filter to remove the large particulates.
It waits in the pressure tank until a household spigot is turned
on and then flows through the pipes just as in a normal household.
the kitchen, Jody with the assistance of Good Water Company installed
under the sink a ceramic filter and a UV sterilization lamp. This
combination filter and UV lamp purifies the water Jody uses for
drinking. She uses "straight rainwater" for cooking
and dish cleaning. The UV lamp is only capable of effectively
sterilizing 1.1 gallon (4 liter) of water a minute, which is far
less than what comes out of a typical household faucet (i.e. 5
gallons or about 18 liters a minute at the typical 20-30 psi).
So she stores filtered water in a jar next to the sink for large
projects. This whole setup costs less than $500 and keeps her
stocked with fresh, clean drinking water.
has access to well water from a local neighbor and has used it
a few times since moving into her house due to the local drought.
But over the last few years her primary supply has been rainwater
for all her water needs. She uses FREE rain water for everything
- drinking, bathing, and toilets.
loves her new lifestyle and offers this advice to others:
Talk to as many folks as you can about your ideas and plans. You
never know who is going to give you a great nugget of wisdom.
- Think about the natural flow of water on your land. Use gravity
to help harvest the rain, feed your tanks and then drain to your
garden or septic system.
- Keep all your documentation!
aspects of Jody's totally green home include: passive solar heating
with 10" thick Trombe walls, outside walls are made of E-Crete
block with an R value of 24, wood stove, Reflectex in ceiling
to prevent energy loss in the cold winter months and twelve (12)
75Watt solar panels. Cooking and hot water heating are performed
with propane. Additionally, she recycles the all the water, except
from the toilet, for use in her garden and to top it off she drives
a 1979 Mercedes Benz that runs on used kitchen grease!
clearly leads a more self-reliant and sustainable life than most.
She believes in doing as many little things as possible to conserve
and make the world a better place for others. Her next project
is to build a Charter School 37 and a Community Center in the
village of Galisteo Preserve, which is being developed by the
Commonwealth Conservancy. Both, of course, will be fully sustainable.
is a true Local Pioneer and we thank her for her personal commitment
to have less of an impact on the environment and for helping others
do the same.
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