It’s estimated that an average person in the UK uses between 130 - 150,000 litres of water per day. It’s also estimated that, in a domestic setting, we simply flush away ?? of our available drinking (potable) water. In offices, this figure rises to ?? of all drinking water flushed away. It seems strange that we spend so much money on treating water for human consumption, then literally flush it down the toilet.
Because we all get through so much water, it’s really worth exploring the benefits of how we can benefit from capturing the vast amount of rainwater we receive every year and putting it to good use. Learning how to effectively harvest rainfall can be both financially beneficial and great for the environment.
Rainwater can be used for many purposes and is particularly useful for things where we don’t have to use drinkable water to do them. Such things can include flushing the toilet, washing machine water, watering the garden and hosing down the car as well as countless tasks in an industrial or commercial setting. We do not need treated water to perform these tasks, so by collecting and using rainwater, we can leave the treated water only for such things as drinking, showering and dishwashing, which would seriously cut down on our water bills.
Businesses and housing projects are able to benefit from having the ability to harvest rainwater. For one, it is a good marketing or promotional tool to be able to say that your business or project has the ability to harvest and reuse rainwater and it would automatically raise your green credentials to anyone looking at your business of project.
Additionally, being able to demonstrate that your project meets the Code For Sustainable Homes
may well get your preferential treatment for planning applications from local authorities. Being able to show that your mains water usage is limited and meeting the CSH and BREEM (an assessment method for rating buildings on their environmental impact), opens up all kinds of options, including potentially adding value to your building as well as huge savings on operational costs.
There are many rainwater harvesting systems out there and for maximum benefit, it’s important that you choose one with high quality components. Any part or product that comes into constant contact with water needs to be of high quality, which will have a direct impact on efficiency and therefore on electricity and mains water costs. Choose components that are corrosion resistant as these will assist in keeping the noise of the system to a minimum, as well as increasing the longevity of the harvester as a whole.
There are various mathematical sums you can do to work out how much rainwater you should be collecting, based on the size and type of your roof and the typical annual amount rainfall to be expected in your area. Best practise suggests that a water tank should be big enough to contain a supply of around 2 - 3 weeks worth and it’s preferable, though not essential, to have your water tank located underground.
Article by Benjamin Clarke
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