Integrated water/energy design.

With an intention to truly explore what it means to “thrive”, we will utilize leading-edge technology to harvest the greatest renewable energy and water available, with an intention to not only cause minimal impact, but to actually provide support for the entire immediate bioregion in the process.


To begin, we will strive to integrate our approach to renewable energy, and water production, with the intention of creating more energy than we use.











As you can see on these solar maps from the University of Oregon and the OSEIA , our south-facing site is particularly good for developing solar energy.  In these maps from 1998-2002, as you can see, we are in the 4-6 range:















We intend to test the best practice for our specific area. To do so we will investigate:

  • Concentrating Photovoltaics - CPV - a way of reducing the cost of solar panels by using lenses or mirrors to focus the sun's rays on a small area of solar cell material, potentially achieving a large reduction in materials and cost.
  • Solar Towers - in which a field of sun-tracking mirrors focus solar energy on a receiver-topped tower, concentrating enormous amount of energy at one point, producing extremely high temperatures used for heating water or molten salt. The energy can be saved for later use or used to produce steam to drive a generator.
  • Nano-Solar – an emerging technology that uses the alloy CIGS placed in an extremely thin layer on a flexible surface. Industry leaders claim it will reduce solar cell production costs by a factor of 4-5, making small-scale solar energy costs comparable to high-volume silicon PV panels.


Ashland as a solar pioneer. 

With four locations, (the police station, civic center, library, and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival), Ashland has been a pioneer in the use of solar power in Southern Oregon.

The chart above shows their seasonal output, with accumulated data showing a total of 275,328 kWh produced between July 2000 and June 2006. We expect even better results due to our southern exposure directly across a narrow valley from the site of these collectors.


Wind Energy

Our wind exposure is also good, estimated at Class 4, with anything above Class 3 considered worthy of wind power development. Actual on-site data will have to be gathered before we can determine the viability and true potential of a wind system installation.

                               Oregon BPA wind power


Rain Catchment

Additionally, we plan to develop rain catchment systems throughout the property’s 52 acres. Several designs are possible. We’ll design rain catchments and solar systems into each structure, including the barn. Then we’ll also install state-of-the-art rain catchment systems under any lawn areas and other planting areas – systems that reduce water usage by well over half. Finally, we’ll investigate using hydropower from the rain catchment system to generate additional power as it runs through the system. A typical integrated rain catchment system diagram would look like this :

In optimum scenarios, 1 inch of rainfall collected off of a 1000 square foot surface can equal 600 gallons of captured water. (Ashland receives approximately 20 inches per year.) If only half of every household’s water supply could be sustained by a Rain Catchment System, we would greatly alleviate the pressures on our current water sources.


Water use for an average household in North America is 293 gallons per day. As the chart to the right indicates, more than 50% of our average water use does not need to be potable water. The average household is not designed to differentiate between fixtures that need potable water and those that don't. System sizes are determined by square footage of catchment area, annual rainfall & water demand. A Rain Catchment System can supply water to all of these uses:

Toilets * Clothes Washer * Faucets * Dishwasher * Showers * Baths * Landscaping * Potable Water.



A irrigation catchment system could look like this:

The benefits to collecting rainwater are numerous:

    • Your water supply is self-sufficient
    • Protects your property investment
    • Cost-effective alternative water source
    • Reduces the demand on the water shed
    • Filtered rainwater is soft water with low mineral content
    • Unfiltered rainwater is preferred by plants and trees over most well water and municipal water sources
    • Reduces erosion, flooding, and pollution caused by runoff
    • Filtered rainwater costs substantially less than bottled water
    • Stored water provides fire protection
    • Tax credits and rebate programs can lower costs.


Our entirely integrated system will include every aspect of energy production we can imagine and legally produce; including, perhaps, something similar to the famous child’s see-saw water pump developed in Gaviotas.


All rain catchment information is courtesy of Wonder Water, Mt. Shasta CA.


Sub-surface Irrigation Technology.

When addressing issues of water waste, Evaporative Control Systems, Inc. (now called EPIC and marketed by Rehbein Solutions) realized that conventional irrigation on a typical 3,000 square foot lot used approximately 203,000 gallons of water per season, compared to the average family of four national annual water use of approximately 93,075 gallons.  Addressing this irrigation issue could go far in reducing our national water use.  (Much of this information on sub-surface irrigation was originally presented in a Power Point developed by Jonas Z. Sipaila.)

According to Sipaila, the ECS method of irrigation highlights the following advantages over traditional methods:



0% water waste

24 times more efficient

Non-pressurized which results in:

  • Even distribution
  • Ideal growing environment
  • Subsurface fertilization
  • Reduced fertilizer use

Creates non-erosive flow

Safe use of treated wastewater

Can control run-off

Healthier plants and lawns:

  • Little maintenance
  • No repair

Protects ground water

No weeds

Non-plugging interface

No tilling

Non-polluting design

Perfect moisture levels – no rot

Harvests and stores water for irrigation

Single point watering and fertilization


Uses less water –

  • 50% less than sprinklers
  • 30% less than drip systems


Steady, reliable watering all season long, even in the dryest months


Uses gravity and capillary action.





For more information about subsurface irrigation systems:   and


Thriv'In's integrated system will include every aspect of energy production we can imagine and legally produce  Why not add a method of harnessing hydro power from the gravity powered sub-surface irrigation, or even create something similar to the famous child’s see-saw water pump developed in Gaviotas?  The possibilities are limitless.


SOURCES for this page's charts, info, and diagrams:

City of Ashland Energy Dept.

To calculate pvwatts, see:

All rain catchment information is courtesy of Wonder Water, Mt. Shasta CA. -