Rainwater harvesting, recycling & storage information.
The scarcity of one of our most valuable and important resources, water, is beginning to cause concern, not only in the UK but across the world. It’s estimated that by 2030 demand will outpace supply by nearly 40% which means we all need to do our bit to conserve the amount we use. If we are to have a sustainable future, then rainwater harvesting is going to have to become an important part of our lives.
Our reservoirs do it on a grand scale, collecting rainwater which is then pumped and purified before reaching our homes and providing us with valuable drinking water. But rainwater can also be collected locally using catchment devices and storage tanks. Although it will not yet provide us with suitable drinking and cooking water, rainwater harvesting can provide an important source for other uses such as washing clothes and flushing the toilet, something that could save most of us up to 40% on our mains usage.
The History of Rainwater Harvesting
We have been trying to make use of the water that falls out of our skies for thousands of years, channelling it to provide irrigation and to provide drinking water for remote communities in drier climates. The history of rainwater harvesting is a story of rich innovations from the Talibs of India through to the more complex systems we are now beginning to find in our overcrowded cities.
How Rainwater Harvesting Works
The process is fairly simple – rain falls onto your roof and is collected by the guttering, channelled down into a storage tank which then feeds into your home where it can be used to flush toilets and fill your washing machine. We are all beginning to utilise some form of rainwater harvesting whether it’s the simple act of installing a water butt in the garden or going for something more advanced that helps cut down our water bills. There may well be a day when we all have our local water collection system that ensures we have plenty for our needs in the future.
Types of Rainwater Harvesting System
There are a range of rainwater harvesting systems on the market from those that you can install yourself to ones that fit underground and provide water for specific purposes, saving you money on your water bills. You can have tanks that work with a pump at ground level and those that use the force of gravity which are normally placed in the loft or on the roof. As we become more aware of our need to conserve this vital resource, the popularity of rainwater harvesting will continue to grow and new innovations will help us do it more efficiently.
The Uses of Rainwater Harvesting
Water harvested from rainfall is not suitable for drinking or cooking because it hasn’t been processed in the same way as our mains supply has. It can however be used for a variety of purposes such as flushing toilets, in washing machines and watering the garden. The main use of rainwater harvesting, though, is the conservation of our mains supply as demand begins to rise.
The Benefits of Rainwater Harvesting
Apart from conserving our mains supply, rainwater harvesting systems can have a wide range of ecological and financial benefits particularly for commercial premises where usage for flushing toilets and other potable needs is much greater. If you have a water meter then you can reduce the cost of your bills by as much as 40% by having a good rainwater harvesting system installed.
Rainwater Harvesting and the Effect on your Property Price
For domestic properties, rainwater harvesting is still in its early stages here in the UK so there is not much concrete evidence for the impact on property prices. A good RHS is, however, very low maintenance and reduces the amount of a water metered bill by up to 40%, which would suggest that it would only have a positive impact on your property price.
Large Scale Rainwater Harvesting
Where rainwater harvesting can make a big ecological and financial difference is on a larger, industrial scale and government initiatives have been introduced to encourage the incorporation of water collection technology into new commercial builds. With savings of up to 40% on mains water bills, many large industrial size properties are beginning to see the benefits and quick return on investment of installing their own rainwater harvesting system.
Are Rainwater Harvesting Systems Worth It?
Whether your rainwater harvesting system is worth the investment depends on what you are trying to achieve. For domestic systems, the financial return on investment could take up to 15 years depending on your usage. Rainwater harvesting works more profitably for larger collecting systems such as those you find in commercial or industrial environments, often providing a return within a couple of years. The other issue to consider is the collective impact rainwater harvesting has on the environment, reducing our reliance on the mains system which is under pressure from high demand and an increasingly limited supply.
Considerations for full Compliance
B.E.S.T will select of the correct size of the storage tank as this is critical if the property is to comply with BS8515 and the code of Sustainable Homes. Other important factors taken into account are the geographical location, the annual rainfall, the area and type of roof or collection surface and intended applications for now and in the future. For further information please contact us.