Plumbing remains one of the domestic technologies that has least benefited from contemporary trends in modular component design and engineering. This is partly due to the tradition-bound nature of the home building trades in general as well as the commercial hegemonies deliberately created by building codes. However, in recent years some promising modular systems have emerged, though generally limited to the water supply side of the plumbing system.
Utilihab employs a manifold-based Modular Water Supply scheme based on modular plastic tubing that uses a distribution architecture similar to that of the Modular Wiring System. In addition, it favors use of localized hot water generation through On-Demand Water Heaters. This eliminates roughly half the amount of plumbing in a home, allowing for further-simplified and easily modified plumbing that leaves the DIY builder to deal with only cold water plumbing distribution. (this is also safer as long plastic tubing runs are less suited to carrying potable hot water) This greatly reduces the costs of plumbing by minimizing certified plumbing contractor time. However, when solar water heating is combined with on-demand heating a conventions two-line network must be used with the solar hot water integrated at the manifold.
Utilihab divides its plumbing systems into four basic sub-system; supply, greywater, blackwater, and rainwater catchment. (fluid-based radiant heating and cooling systems might be considered as a third plumbing sub-system but are generally fully isolated and do not convey potable water) The supply system supplies the potable fresh water to sinks, showers, tubs, and other appliances in the home. The greywater system recovers drain water from sinks, tubs, and showers for re-use in irrigation, or containerized/compartmentalized hydroponic ‘Living Machine’ filtering and sometimes toilet flushing. The blackwater system deals with sewerage and the filtered heavy organic material from the greywater system. The rainwater catchment system captures rainwater for landscape, gardening, and hydroponic use as well as for toilet flushing or for processing to stored potable water sent to the supply system.
Generally, the Utilihab system relies on sub-floor space for most plumbing routing and is easily accessible for repair and reconfiguration thanks to the modular floor and ceiling panel systems. Plumbing is attached directly to available frame slot area via T-nut attached zip-ties and clamps and in some cases interior channels in framing members themselves may be adapted to serve as supply water pipes and manifolds. Modular manifold units are designed to mount on the T-slot framing or onto the Utilihab Modular Utility Panel.
Utilihab favors the use of PEX polyethylene tubing for all supply and drainage plumbing. This is color-coded for different uses; white or blue for main potable water supply and cross-linking, blue for cold potable water supply, red for hot potable water, green for sewer and drain, black for vent and irrigation uses.
[Note: look into Vanguard Manabloc manifold plumbing systems]