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Friday, April 15, 2011

Monty's Plumbing presents Solatube Daylighting products

Monty's Plumbing & Sustainable Systems discusses the merits of Solatube Daylighting systems for your home in this new video.  For more information regarding Solatubes and other sustainable solutions for your home, please visit http://www.montysplumbing.com/ and give us a call for more information.


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Reeves Journal Features Monty's Plumbing In Their September Issue

Up and Coming
by Jack Sweet

Posted: September 14, 2010

A San Diego contractor shows there’s more than one way to save water.

Southern California, as many aren’t aware, is actually a kind of desert called chapparal. Almost all of the lush, vegetation that stays green all year long in the region has been imported. And all of it requires a whole lot of water. People do, too. We like big showers with torrents of water. Southern California residents used to have water to burn, so to speak, what with the California Aqueduct, bringing water from Northern California, and the Colorado River both full to the brim. Years of chronic drought, though, has everyone thinking both of ways to conserve water and alternate water sources that can be put to use for certain tasks.

K.C. Montgomery is the owner of Monty’s plumbing, a self-described “one-man show,” based in the Ocean Beach neighborhood of San Diego. Soon to be known as “Monty’s Plumbing & Sustainable Systems,” the 3-year old outfit earned its bones, so to speak, in service and repair. It will still handle those chores, Montgomery said, but the company now specializes in rainwater catchment, graywater systems and solar water heating: “I stick mostly to residential plumbing—service and repair,” the affable Montgomery said recently while driving out to have a look at a recent project in the nearby Mission Hills neighborhood. “But my real passion is sustainable systems.”

Driving through the old neighhborhoods in the west side of the city's hilly, winding streets, Montgomery talked about current eco-friendly plumbing trends in his sphere of influence. The biggest thing, he said, is that today, people are really into saving money. Instead of taking that as a cue to drop his rates Montgomery took a different tack:

“I drop subtle hints: ‘If you’re interested in saving water you can do this and this’,” he said. “Everybody’s looking to save money—water, natural gas, electricity—our precious natural resources are going up in price every year. Plus the American southwest is in a major drought and people are starting to become conscious of it and are wanting to do their part. Being green isn’t just trendy, it’s imperative.”

The project house turned out to be a winding, multi-level place on a wooded lot in a steep draw. The first part of the tour centered on the property’s graywater system, which catches some of the residence’s used water and diverts it for further use.

“They’re finally legal in California,” Montgomery said, noting graywater can’t be stored more than 24 hours. But, “just by changing to a graywater-approved soap you can set up your laundry machine and your showers to drain into your yard and water your trees and ornamentals and all that.”

The California Energy Commission’s Consumer Energy Center Web site notes a typical top-loading washing machine consumes about 40 gallons a load. Using a 2.5 gpm showerhead and a 10-minute shower sends 25 gallons down the drain, never to be heard from again. That’s a lot of water you can redirect for use in your yard so you don’t have to use your sprinklers as much.

He said plumbers who want to learn about graywater systems would do well to look into books on the subject by Montgomery’s “graywater guru,” Art Ludwig: “That’s the best way, if people are looking to get into that sort of thing,” he said, walking over to a large green tank on one of the property’s terraces.

That tank was the actual star of the show. This tank and five others of varying capacities located around the house provide a total of 3,100 gallons of rain water storage capacity.

“They have one system on one side of the house and another system on the other. One side of the house starts with a 200-gallon tank. When it fills up it overflows into a 1,000 gallon tank. When that fills up, it overflows down into a 700 gallon tank,” he said. “They have another system that’s very similar that holds 1,200 gallons on the other side.

Varying sources give San Diego’s average annual rainfall as a range between seven- and 13 inches. That’s not a whole lot—can you really catch 3,100 gallons of water with a maximum monthly rainfall of just more than 2 inches? Montgomery said when people think of rainwater harvesting they think of a 55-gallon drum in the back yard: But 55 gallons is really nothing when it comes to water and you’ll use that as quickly as it fills up.

“If you have a 2,000 square foot home you can easily catch 1,000 gallons of rain very easily in just the average rainstorm,” Montgomery said. “I’ve got a few of these systems around San Diego and these people use them and get them filled up twice a year with just a little amount of average rainfall but San Diego gets.”

He said most commonly the rainwater is used to water gardens. Some residents even use it to shower with because it’s “the purest water you can get and it’s softer than soft water,” Montgomery said. “A lot of people are into the whole lifestyle so they’ve torn up their grass and have planted vegetable gardens. It’s a hip neighborhood, but I have tanks in Tierrasanta and in Scripps Ranch and there are catchment systems here in Ocean Beach. We just put some rain tanks in at Cuyamaca College because we wanted to showcase what we do.”

Montgomery said one of his customers has taken the water-saving lifestyle to an extreme. Where the average San Deigan, he said, consumes about 160 gallons of water a day, this lady is down to consuming only 20 gallons of municipal water a day thanks to her rainwater catchment and graywater systems.

“Granted she’s more hard-core than average people,” he said. “You’re still using the same amount of water but you’re reusing half of it. If you do two loads of laundry a week with a standard type washing machine that’s 80 gallons. It’s a shame to see that much water go down the sewer when it could be reused. Here in San Diego, our water comes from the California Aqueduct or the Colorado River. It’s traveling 1,500 miles before it comes out of our taps. To me that’s asinine.”

Living in a city that gets just shy of 150 clear days a year (and who knows how many half-days owing to the area’s typical cloudy mornings) it sort of makes sense to take advantage and use some of that sunshine to heat some water. It makes sense to Montgomery.

“It’s green and sustainable and reusing the sun’s energy makes all the sense in the world to me,” he said. “I did some research and found you can reduce natural gas use by 30 percent by adding solar. You can pretty much power electric water heaters off and let the collectors do all the work.” Montgomery said adding solar is very attractive at the moment, what with a pretty penny to be had in the form of tax breaks and cash incentives from various state and federal agencies.

“You can get $1,000 federal tax credit for putting in an approved system. That’s on top of being able to get $1,500 off the cost of certain systems,” he said. “That’s potentially $2,500 off the cost of the system and people want to be part of that. A typical system’s total cost is in the $5,000-$6,000 neighborhood it can be installed in one day.”

As busy as things are for Montgomery these days, he said he’s placing great hopes in a section of the company’s newly designed Web site called The Sustainable Outpost. He said plans for the online store will be to offer any imaginable eco-friendly product: “Anything from low-flow toilets or showerheads all the way through complete solar hot water heating systems and anything you’ll need to install your own rainwater catchment system. Basically it’s a one-stop shop for all your sustainable needs. I’m hoping The Sustainable Outpost is going to outgrow Monty’s Plumbing.”

Jack Sweet



Monday, August 16, 2010

San Diego's Efforts To Provide Its Citizens With Water

Supply Diversification
The Water Authority is executing a long-term strategy to enhance the reliability of our region’s water supply.This strategy includes diversification of the region’s water supply sources and major investments in regional infrastructure.This plan is already enhancing regional supply reliability.In 1991, the San Diego region was 95 percent reliant on supplies from MWD. Through developing new local and imported supplies and boosting conservation, in fiscal year2010 the San Diego region will have reduced its reliance on MWD supplies to 53 percent. The Water Authority is executing a $3.8 billion Capital Improvement Program to further improve regional water delivery and storage capacity. Major projects include raising San Vicente Dam in East County by 117 feet to provide up to 152,100 acre-feet of additional storage, and connecting Lake
Hodges to the region’s imported water distribution system. The Water Authority is working with local agencies to develop local supplies such as groundwater, recycled water, seawater desalination, and conservation. By 2020, local water supplies are projected to meet 40 percent of the region’s water demands. The Water Authority also has a long-term (45 to 75 years) water conservation and transfer agreement with the Imperial Irrigation District. The deal, reached in 2003, will provide San Diego County with 70,000 acre-feet of highly reliable water in 2010 and increases to 200,000 acre-feet annually by 2021. The Water Authority also has a separate, 110-year agreement to receive water conserved by lining parts of the Coachella
and All-American canals. These projects provide 80,000 acre feet of water to the region annually.
Metropolitan Water
District of Southern California
Imperial Irrigation District
Water Transfer
Canal Lining
Water Supply Diversification by 2020
Metropolitan Water District
of Southern California 53%
Conservation 10%
Groundwater 2%
Imperial Irrigation District
Water Transfer 10%
Local Surface Water 3%
Canal Lining Transfer 16%
Recycled Water 4%
Water Supply Diversification in 2010*
Dry Year Transfer 2%
*Projected available supply.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Do you hate plastic bags or love reusable bags?

Right now is the time to act if you would like to help reduce plastic pollution in California and the ocean.
AB 1998 is groundbreaking legislation for the State of California and your localState Senator needs to hear that YOU support it. AB 1998 has stalled in theState Senate but is not dead so please contact your Senator today or next week. 

The most effective way to register your support is by calling your State Senator's local office to simply say "Please ask Seantor _____ to support AB 1998 to ban mostplastic bags in California." 

They will likely ask for your name and where you live, the call only takes 15-20 seconds but is very effective. Here is a list of local State Senators and their office phone numbers to call: 

District 38: Mark Wyland (760) 931-2455. North San Diego County - stretches alongInterstate 5 from the horse track of Del Mar to the Marine Corps base at Camp Pendleton. Additional San Diego County cities include Carlsbad, Encinitas, Escondido, Oceanside, San MarcosSolana Beach, Fairbanks Ranch, Rancho Santa Fe, Hidden Meadows, Bonsall and Vista. 

District 39: Christine Kehoe (619) 645-3133. Senate District 39 is a beautiful area stretching east-west from Spring Valley to the Pacific Ocean, and north-south from Del Mar to Downtown San Diego. It encompasses 847,000 residents from Del Mar and Lemon Grove, and parts of San Diego, Casa de Oro-Mo, La Mesa, and Spring Valley. 

District 40: Denise Moreno Ducheny. (619) 409-7690. Southern SD County fromImperial Beach east towards Chula Vista. Extreme Southern/ Southeast part of SD County and all of Imperial County. 

District 36: Dennis Hollingsworth(619) 596-3136. Most of East County. (District 37 is in Riverside County). 

Click Here for a map if you are not sure. 

You can also register your support online, this is a great link to add to your social networks/email to share with family and friends: 

Finally, more business support is needed so if you happen to know a local business owner that may be interested please let us know by emailing AB1998@surfriderSD.organd we can follow up with all of the necessary info. 

Would you like to help us get postcard signatures in Imperial Beach this weekend? or maybe join us and Environment California for the giant turtle tour next Tuesday afternoon in Encinitas? If so, please email rap@surfriderSD.org for details. 

Click Here for more info and facts on the issue and Assembly Bill 1998. Thanks for your support and remembering your reusable bags
Surfrider volunteers at Rise Above Plastics day