Smarter Business: Greening Advisor

 

Rainwater catchment systems

Buildings can use a significant amount of water. Harvesting rainwater helps conserve water and preserve stream and river ecosystems. Rainwater catchment systems, which can include cisterns and rain barrels as well as other simple devices to capture and reuse rainwater, can also reduce the need to transport water long distances, thereby reducing energy use and infrastructure requirements. Collecting rainwater from rooftops for re-use is an environmentally preferable—and potentially economical—approach to satisfying some of your building’s water needs. Catchment systems can be designed and installed on a small scale as well as at larger scales.

Review the examples below, and consider installing a rainwater catchment system when embarking upon new construction or renovation.

Rainwater Catchment Examples

Olympiastadion, Berlin: This venue for the 2006 FIFA Soccer World Cup uses a rainwater harvesting system that diverts rainwater into one of the largest cisterns in Europe, capable of storing more than 49,000 cubic feet of water. The cistern supplies nonpotable water for uses such as irrigating the soccer field.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology Stata Center, Cambridge: A stormwater/rainwater catchment system here provides water for nonpotable uses such as flushing toilets. Case Study

International Examples: The United Nations Environmental Program has examples here.

Additional Resources

Greening Advisor

The Business Plan

The Opportunities

Quick Fact

At Berlin’s Olympiastadion, one of the largest cisterns in Europe captures rainwater that’s then reused to irrigate the soccer field, among other uses.

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Collecting rainwater from rooftops for re-use is an environmentally preferable—and potentially economical—approach to satisfying some of your building’s water needs.
 

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