Why you should harvest rainwater
The benefits of rainwater harvesting
When you consider that rain is a completely free resource that until now you’ve been ignoring, the reasons to harvest your rainwater are pretty impressive. The three main ones are lower water bills, lower environmental impact and reduced risk of localised flooding.
Lower water bills
The rainwater that falls on your building can replace up to 50% of your mains water usage in a domestic property and up to 63% in a commercial premises. That means savings of up to 63% on your annual water bill. We say up to because it depends how you want to use rainwater in your property. A commercial property is easy – 63% is saved purely through toilet flushing and urinals. A domestic property can save 5% using the water outdoors, an additional 12% through laundry use and an extra 33% by flushing toilets with rainwater instead of drinking water.
Lower carbon footprint
The hidden cost of mains water usage is the environmental cost. It takes 1.3kwh of electricity to pump a cubic metre of water to your property, that’s around 35.5kg of carbon produced in a year for every person in the building. By replacing some of your mains water need with rainwater, sourced onsite, you dramatically cut those emissions and your building becomes more sustainable. You also leave that unused mains water in lakes, rivers and reservoirs, benefiting wildlife and ecosystems.
Reduced flood risk
Localised flooding is caused by storm water overloading drains, sewers and water courses. It happens because the hard surfaces on your property (roofs, driveways, paths) prevent natural soak away and channel gallons of water into the sewer network. Rainwater harvesting systems help alleviate this pressure by retaining rainwater and slowly releasing it into either drains or soak away beds over time. This reduces the load on the sewers and the knock-on risk of flooding.
Aside from the main reasons to start collecting your rainwater, there are a few perks to taking control of your water supply and relying less on mains. Storing rainwater means you don’t need to worry about hosepipe bans, so when the hot, dry summers come (they do exist, honest) and your neighbour’s gardens are suffering – you can keep on watering and cleaning your car. If you’re feeling generous, you could even share your harvest!
Using rainwater in your washing machine is proven to produce better cleaning results. The water is always soft, meaning less detergent is needed and less chemicals end up on your clothes and in the water ecosystem. Softer water also requires less energy to clean clothes, saving you money on your electricity bill too!
If you’re a business that uses water in production processes or to provide a service, such as a printers, car wash, launderette or horses stables, rainwater can provide game changing savings on water costs. And as if all of that wasn’t enough, simply the fact that your property and everyone in it is improving their positive impact on the environment by up to 63%. Oh and seeing your toilet flushed with free, recycled rainwater rather than paid for drinking water has to feel good.