Rainwater storage seems like a no-brainer.
Rain falling on your roof is often whisked away the storm sewer where it has to be dealt with as waste. Meanwhile, you pay a small fortune to buy water for watering your lawn, irrigating your garden, or perhaps washing your car.
The Original Rainwater Pillow could make serious rainwater storage an affordable reality for homeowners.
The Water Problem
Nearly every area of the United States and much of Canada has been touched by drought over the course of the last few years. Many dry areas have seen water rationing by utilities as their stores inch ever lower.
When rains do come to parched areas, they are often in the form of deluge events from thunderstorms.
Unfortunately, such all-at-once rain events do little to alleviate water shortage as so much of the water has no opportunity to soak in, running into storm sewers.
The runoff problem is made even worse by our modern love of the paved surface.
Our cities with their roofs, gutters, paved streets, parking lots, and storm water management systems have been called the perfect short circuit to the planetary water cycle. Impervious surfaces, which cover a growing percentage of the earth’s face, turn life-giving rain into a contaminated waste product that must be dealt with.
Rainwater catchment and rainwater storage for use in home irrigation is a responsible way for the homeowner to help limit runoff problems and to alleviate their reliance on precious drinking water resources for irrigation and gardening. Water released in a slower fashion due to sequestration is also more likely to soak back into aquifers rather than running off.
Home roofs are perfectly designed collection systems just waiting for a water-wise homeowner to go the last step to set up a water storage system.
The problem for most homeowners is that installing a rainwater catchment system any larger than a simple rain barrel involves expensive excavation and destruction of existing landscaping.
Enter the Original Rainwater Pillow
A unique product made by Rainwater Collection Solutions of Georgia provides an elegant storage solution for thousands of gallons of captured rain water, all without complete yard destruction.
The Original Rainwater Pillow captures and stores rainwater for uses such as lawn and garden irrigation, toilet flushing, car washing, and even fire suppression. With additional treatment, it may be possible to use the water for potable applications as well.
The system utilizes otherwise wasted horizontal storage areas such as crawl spaces and areas beneath decks and porches.
Using a gravity feed system, water is directed into collapsible fabric bags where it can remain until needed. Once a bag is full, a diverter redirects water to an outside drainage system.
Standard bag kits are available in 1000, 2000, and 3000 gallon sizes. Multiple bags may be linked together for additional storage capacity.
The company will also build custom bags of up to 200,000 gallons, according to company president, Jim Harrington.
How Much Water Can Be Collected: The Math
To determine how much water your roof can collect, determine the square footage of your roof (width in feet multiplied by length) then multiply by 0.625.
Roof Sq Footage X 0.625 = gallons of collection per inch of rainfall
Consult your local rainfall data statistics to approximate the amount of water you can collect for a given month in your location.
Watch the Local Rainwater Storage Laws
Check with your state and county authorities to be certain that you are allowed to sequester the water that falls on your property. Amazingly, some locations still forbid homeowners from collecting rainwater, even if they are only collecting water that otherwise would have been directed to storm sewers.
Read a complete product review of the Original Rainwater Pillow.
David Arthur, LEED-AP, Energy Auditor and green building consultant, is an admitted green building nerd. He gets quite animated about such subjects as the embodied energy in concrete and window emissivity. He operates the website GreenHomesConsultant.com.