Skip to main content
Observer Ethical awards Winners 2011

YouGen Blog

Bigger is still best!

Posted by Barry Nutley on 25 February 2009 at 11:24 am

Domestic applications of rainwater harvesting have been the focus of previous blogs. However, there is even more potential in commercial buildings. With current economic conditions, we all need to reduce costs, and/or increase sales. Rainwater harvesting can help both:

Rainwater can be used to meet water demand for toilet flushing in buildings with high volumes of staff and visitors using water each day. The larger the roof space, the bigger the catchment area for collection of rainwater and the greater the benefits. Commercial premises tend to need more non-potable water for cleaning and toilet facilities and, unlike domestic properties, they don't tend to have baths/showers etc, so they are likely to better the 50 per cent savings in mains water use households can make.

With their large roof area these buildings possess a natural facility to recoup large amounts of water and deliver substantial savings. It is often not necessary to bury the tank under-ground, as aesthetics are not usually as important as they are in a domestic application. This keeps installation costs down.

Clients in the commercial sector have benefited significantly from including a rainwater system in the early stages of a project, but retro-fitting doesn't necessarily cost more. A typically large roof area, coupled with high water usage yields rapid paybacks, Profitability is a key factor in any business and a rainwater harvesting system can help to increase profits by lowering operating costs and reducing your water charges. This includes a reduction in waste water charge, as this is based upon water supplied (95 per cent).

Companies are more aware now of their responsibility to the environment on a local and global scale and many environmental standards such as ISO 14000 and BREEAM, can only be obtained by demonstrating your active commitment to the environment.

Many organisations have internal policies on water use, particularly local authorities who are aiming to reduce water consumption by 30 per cent in all of their buildings over the next three years.

The Enhanced Capital Allowance (ECA) scheme allows businesses to claim 100 per cent first year capital allowances on investments in technologies and products included in the ECA list of water efficient technologies, making it even more financially viable.

No two buildings are alike and this should be taken into account when assessing the system's components. Each system installation is bespoke, with carefully selected tanks, filters and control systems. The monitoring and telemetry can also be linked into building management systems.

Whether it is from a cost-saving, environmental or storm water management standpoint, a good consultant/installer can evaluate the site conditions and design a cost-effective, easy to use system that is tailored for your specific building application.

Each system should be capable of being upgraded and can be linked into future development expansion or potential change of use, and there is no limit to size of tank/s, assuming there is enough space.

Another important point to note, is the potential PR surrounding such an installation. Any local paper/trade journal is always interested in a 'green' story. What's a good story worth to your business? Think of that as a further saving?

As you can see, rainwater harvesting can make great commercial sense.

Facts of the week:

  1. Water makes up 75 per cent of the human brain. 75 per cent of trees are also made from water.
  2. Water moves around the earth in a water cycle. The water cycle has five parts: evaporation, condensation, precipitation, infiltration and surface run-off
  3. One drop of oil can render up to 25 litres of water unfit for drinking

And finally... Viridis Energie Consultants are exhibiting at UK AWARE at Olympia on 17 and 18 April. I have some free tickets to give away. So, if you are interested, then use the contact us page on the website, and come and visit us.

Photo by Anderson Mancini

About the author: Barry Nutley is co-founder and director of Viridis Energie Consultants

If you have a question about anything in the above blog, please ask it in the comments section below.

Like this blog? Keep up to date with our free monthly newsletter

Comments

0 comments - read them below or add one

No Comments.

Leave a comment

You must log in to make a comment. If you haven't already registered, please sign up as a company or an individual, then come back and have your say.