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Tulsa City Council Approves Net-Zero Water Ordinance

The Joinery's water plan includes catching, storing and converting rainwater to potable water; treating and recycling grey water; treating black water in an on-site constructed wetlands system, and composting waste in a bio-digester. Credit: Jones Design Studio

To become a certified Living Building, The Joinery has to meet 20 Imperatives required by the International Living Future Institute.

No. 5 is Net Positive Water.

This means 100 percent of The Joinery’s water needs must be supplied by captured precipitation and/or by recycling used project water, and must be purified as needed without the use of chemicals. All stormwater and water discharge, including grey and black water, must be treated onsite as well.

Before last week, this system would not have been permitted by the City of Tulsa. Our team began working with the City in June 2017 on an ordinance allowing homes to collect and treat their own water and to be independent from the City's water and sewer system. Under the ordinance, net-zero systems could be installed in detached single-family homes or a residential duplex and would be assigned separate street addresses.

After two years of discussions, drafts, and approvals, the Tulsa City Council adopted the Net-Zero Water Projects Ordinance on July 10.

We are incredibly grateful for the hard work and collaborative effort from City leaders and legal, engineering, and environmental experts. The adoption of this ordinance is a huge step forward for us—and hopefully more net-zero endeavors in our city in the future!


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