Friday, September 4, 2009

Burger Joint Goes Green

Lawrence has been wetter than usual this summer, recording an inch more rain than average this month alone. Members of the Ad Astra Student Cooperative House, 1033 Kentucky St., are trying to capture some of it and put it to good use.
Three members of the house installed a rain barrel on the roof of Local Burger, 714 Vermont St., which is used to collect rain water. Local Burger then uses the collected rain to water their plants.
Mundia Filngawa, an employee at Local Burger, said the restaurant previously used tap water to water the plants, but are now using the water from the rain barrel in an effort to conserve water.
When the Ad Astra house moved in 2005, house members installed three rain barrels at the new location. They use the water on their garden, their lawn and on house plants as well.
“The vibe of student coop was sustainability,” said Ezra Huscher, Salina senior. “We used milk paints when we painted the house, which have less chemicals, and we recycle everything.”
The idea to install the rain barrel at Local Burger came from a previous house member who was friends with the owner of Local Burger and decided to get Ad Astra involved.
“He said, ‘I’m sure Ad Astra could do this for you,’” Huscher said. “So we came together as a house to get it done.”
Ian Stanford, Fairway senior, said he, Huscher and one other student were involved in the construction and installation of the rain barrel. They designed the barrel, which features a flexible spout on top to collect water, a faucet on the side to dispense the water, and an overflow hose on the side. They also had to do some landscaping, which included building a brick foundation to prevent erosion and creating a trail that leads excess run-off water to the parking lot. He said it took the three a full day of work to complete and it cost about $50 in materials.
Huscher estimates that a single inch of rain can easily fill the entire barrel because water flows off the roof and into the barrel. He said the rain barrels at the Ad Astra house were almost always full. The water is accessible through a faucet on the side, but Stanford said they were sure a “NON-POTABLE” label was displayed above it so it was clear the water was not safe to drink, but great for gardening.

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