Paying too much for water – ever considered saving money with rainwater harvesting?
This article gives a few tips about capturing the water runoff from roof buildings. Equestrian centres, businesses, farms and even homeowners who have high water bills may find this of interest. One of our steel building clients who bought an agricultural building harvested the rain water for agricultural use, and found it a useful way of keeping water bills down....
If you are considering, or have, a building with a large roof span it may be worth considering the merits of water harvesting. This article applies equally well to businesses with premises, agricultural establishments and residential buildings – all you need is a roof span that can collect rainwater.
As water usage costs increase it seems short sighted to simply use gutters and drainage pipe to dispose of water without getting any benefits from using it. The UK weather gives the opportunity to consider water harvesting, giving a viable option to make use of it. With water charges due to rise, hose pipe bans in summer etc water harvesting warrants consideration. It also makes sense to recycle, rather than letting the water literally go down the drain.
One of our agricultural customers channelled the gutter from the roof into a water harvesting tank and used the water on his smallholding. The water is used to clean out the sheep pens and is also used as drinking water. Even home owners can consider using rainwater systems. If purified, it can be used for consumption.
Even left untreated the water can be used for washing clothes, flushing toilets, car washing, cleaning, jet washing and garden use etc. This extra source of water could then reduce your metered water consumption and help to reduce bills and everyday expenses. The rainwater systems also use filters and have designs that factor in keeping the water as fresh as possible. Innovative technology and research into this area has made great steps towards keeping water fresh.
Household rainfall catchment systems are appropriate in areas with an average rainfall greater than 200 mm (7.9 in) per year, and no other accessible water sources (Skinner and Cotton, 1992).
Referencing the Met office statistics page the rainfall figures for the UK show that UK has enough rainfall to make water harvesting viable.
The average rainfall for 2009 is 875mm per year, Wales 1495.7 per year, Scotland 1690.4 per year, Ireland 1260.1 per year. This far exceeds the 200mm minimum confirming that water harvesting in the UK is a viable option.
Formula for calculating amount of rainwater collection potential:
Rainwater collection roof area (plan view m2) x annual rainfall (mm) x filter collection efficiency x co-efficient of collection of the roof = total annual rainwater collection (litres).
Put simply, use the average rainfall figures given in this article and times by your metres squared roof span, factor in any water loss from any filtering method you use and you can get an approximate amount of water per year that you can expect.
Roof materials and pitch affect the collection co-efficient, profiled steel sheeting would transfer the water to the gutters quickly and be good (0.9), a flat roof would suffer more from evaporation and windblown losses (0.8).
If you are considering buying any new steel outbuildings ask us for more details and we can help you find options available to you.
Visit our website to see for yourself the variety of buildings available to you. The photos of our other customer builds will illustrate the possibilities. By giving you the option to specify the features to be included in the design you will have more control to the free design suit your requirements and budget.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kevin Wilcox regularly discusses customer requirements with his clients and also has ongoing feedback during design, construction and the buildings subsequent use. These articles offer some general advice based on customer feedback and building experience.