31 Oct, 2017 | Written by Premis

Installing a Rain Harvesting System: Pros & Cons

Rain harvesting is becoming increasingly popular for commercial, education and medical buildings across Australia.  Although water is a valuable and finite resource, it falls from the sky for free. As such, rain harvesting can offer significant cost savings, plus other social, commercial, financial and environmental benefits.  At Premis Solutions, we always take the time to stay up-to-date with building trends. So below, we’ve outlined the pros and cons of installing a rain harvesting system on your commercial, education or medical building. 

Pros

Improve Customer & Employee Image
These days, employees and consumers want the companies they work for, do business with, or buy from to “do their bit” for the environment. Installing a rain harvesting system is a straightforward and easy way to do just that.

Green Star or NABERS Rating
Green Star and NABERS ratings measure your building’s environmental performance. Using harvested rainwater to reduce your mains water consumption and carbon footprint is a great way to qualify for a rating under these schemes or improve your existing rating.

Reduce Mains Water Consumption & Bills
Rainwater can be used for flushing toilets and urinals, doing laundry, washing vehicles, garden irrigation and supplying fire sprinkler systems. This reduces your mains water consumption, improving your bottom line as you pay less for mains water.

Better Meet Your Water Needs, Even During Restrictions
Many commercial buildings consume large volumes of water. But during times of drought, water restrictions can make it difficult or impossible to meet your water needs. A rain harvesting system can supplement your mains water use during times of drought, mitigating the impact of water restrictions on your business.

Reduce Stormwater Runoff & Your Environmental Impact
Harvested rainwater is kept out of the stormwater system. This offers added protection to your building during heavy downpours, reduces erosion in local water systems and lowers the risk of local flooding. Win-win.

Easily Install or Retrofit
Rain harvesting systems can be easily installed during construction or retrofitted to existing buildings, meaning you can enjoy the benefits of rain harvesting no matter what stage your building is at.

Cons

Maintenance Requirements
Rain harvesting systems require regular maintenance to keep them functioning optimally. Unlike mains water systems, the burden of maintenance falls on you. However, with the right equipment and scheduling, you can get maximum benefits from minimal maintenance.

Supply vs Demand
Long droughts may mean you end up with insufficient rainwater supplies for your needs. However, this can be alleviated by using several rainwater tanks (to store more water over time) or setting your system up so it can be “topped up” with mains water when required.

Installation Costs
Like any additional building feature, rain harvesting systems come with an initial setup and installation cost. However, various funding programs or a long-term approach to making this investment in your building can mitigate this challenge.

Treatment Requirements
Rainwater that’s used for irrigation requires little to no filtration, but rainwater used for other purposes should be filtered for sediments. Water used for drinking or bathing should also be treated to destroy harmful microorganisms. This is not so much a “con” as it is a warning to remind you to ensure that your rain harvesting system includes appropriate equipment for filtering and treatment as required.

Learn more
Find out more about incorporating design elements such as solar panels and other environmentally-friendly features into your construction projects.   Contact us today on 1300 773 647 to discuss your upcoming project plans.

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