Dallas – Hurry Up Already!

dallasphoto04142009Dallas:  Big Hair, Big Cars, Big Egos….but apparently not big on getting ready for the Green Housing boom!

This past week has been an eye-opener.  We’ve gone through multiple conversations with the City of Dallas inspectors regarding our use of reclaimed rainwater for irrigation and for washing clothes.  We’ve had visits from Building Inspectors and Zoning personnel who have all admitted that they really don’t yet have a handle on how to manage many green building features.

As mentioned, we’re attempting to use our rainwater in our washing machine.  Our contractor set up our washing machine just as they had done for other customers in surrounding cities – all of which approved of those installations.  However, Dallas didn’t know what to think of it!  The Inspector first wanted a separate “double check back flow valve” (or something like that), then he didn’t understand the filtration system.  Finally, they told us that they were not going to approve the use of reclaimed rainwater for the washing machine.  We were told to dismantle the water delivery mechanism and try later when they were ready to tell us what they would approve.

While our Rainwater Harvesting contractor made a huge mistake by not clearing the use of the system BEFORE it was entirely installed (lesson learned!), the City of Dallas is clearly not ready yet for innovative Green building techniques.

We’ll reconnect the washing machine when the City catches up to us – and I suppose this whole ordeal is the price we’re paying for being on the cutting edge (at least in Dallas, anyway) of Green building!

April 30th, 2009 9:39 am

You ought to just reconnect your washing machine once you’ve moved in. If your contractor is sure it works, you’ll be fine. No reason to let that technology go to waste.

May 1st, 2009 12:28 pm

We (and most everyone else) typically would. But given that we’re going for LEED Platinum certification it seems a bit odd to get points for indoor reclaimed water usage while the City hasn’t approved it.

Also, in the spirit of being a green building leader in Dallas, we’re trying to make it easier for others to build greener homes. If we can make the City think about these things a bit more and create clear guidelines for the next guy (or gal), then we’re all for it.

But that doesn’t make it any less frustrating!

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