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BUILDING FABRIC & EXTERIORS


Making savings from a rainy day


Stormsaver’s Lisa Farnsworth explains how rainwater harvesting systems can help self-builders save water and reduce household running costs


F


or those choosing to self-build, rainwater harvesting systems are becoming a popular solution to be kinder to the planet and reduce household water bills.


While historically, solar and wind power solutions have been prominent, the water shortages are now taking centre stage in the UK. It is becoming apparent that despite having had short periods of heavy rainfall, we have to plan to reduce the strain on the mains water supply for the long-term future. UK policies need changing to include rainwater harvesting systems in new builds which would see our country following in the footsteps of other countries such as Germany, Australia and India, where rainwater harvesting is commonplace and often mandatory. Already, the Welsh Government and Greater London Authority are taking steps towards this.


Rainwater harvesting systems are becoming a popular solution to water shortages and greener environmental policies. Recycling rainwater is a proven method of reducing water bills in an eco-friendly way that promotes sustainability, and reduces the strain on reservoirs and other water sources.


We have to plan to reduce the strain on the mains water supply for the long- term future


september/october 2017


It is more important than ever to capture and reuse rainwater where possible. With hosepipe bans and inconsistent weather, water shortages are becoming daily news. Recent heavy rainfall will not have any immediate or long-term impact on our water shortage issues however, and collecting this locally is a common sense solution. It is imperative that we work together to utilise alternative sources of water that will help to preserve our planet. We can no longer take our water supply for granted.


HOW THEY WORK


Rainwater harvesting systems can be used by practically every household. A storage tank is installed (usually underground) and a multi-stage filtration system is used to clean rainwater for toilet flushing, irrigation, laundry and vehicle washing. Mains water consumption for domestic properties is reduced by up to 50 per cent. Installing such a system is also not as expensive as


people often think; a basic residential system starts from around £2,000 and commercial systems can see a payback of less than five years.


Rainwater harvesting works by collecting rain from roofs and filtering out leaves and debris before storing the water in the main storage tank. The water is then pumped into the property to be used for non-potable applications such as flushing WCs and toilets or supplying soft water to washing machines and external taps. There is also an overflow system so in heavy rainfall the excess water can be discharged into main drains. Systems come with a small control unit which is simple to install in a utility room or garage so you can easily switch to mains water when required and vice versa. Specific systems themselves can be even more eco-friendly – traditionally a rainwater harvesting system uses a 900 W pump but there are systems available that use a 90 W pump, drastically reducing energy use and in turn, carbon emissions.


www.sbhonline.co.uk


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