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Collecting Rain Water for Lawn Irrigation Systems

green building rainwater

Green building is a concept that includes a collection of practices meant to reduce whole-building costs and environmental impact through better site selection, design, construction, operation and maintenance. Over the past few years, these practices have significantly expanded, complementing the classical concerns regarding building utility, economy, durability and comfort.

Although most technologies focus on creating greener constructions, new advancements are constantly being developed to help both organizations and homeowners reduce waste, environmental degradation and pollution so that impressive economic, social and environmental benefits can be achieved. One of the best examples of green building practices is rainwater harvesting.

Why Collect Rainwater for Lawn Irrigation

Rainfall replenishes much of the water we use. However, we are still going to face a global water crisis in the near future, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. High population growth rates, rapid urbanization, fast-paced economic development and climate changes, characterized by higher temperatures and lower precipitation amounts, are the most important factors behind groundwater depletion.

Nowadays, world governments make massive efforts to find new, inexhaustible sources of fresh water. To support these efforts, a recent hydrological study conducted by the University of Arizona Cooperative Extension attests that, by harvesting rainwater, we will be able not only to reduce the use of drinking water for various domestic, industrial and agricultural purposes, but also to minimize the devastating effects of drought, rainfall runoff and nonpoint source pollution. Rainwater collection also allows groundwater to recharge. Since groundwater protects the environment against climate changes, adopting techniques to increase groundwater recharge is another essential green building practice.

Rainwater Harvesting Methods

Rainwater harvesting systems are divided into two main categories: passive and active. Passive systems are actually small barrels placed at the end of downspouts. Active systems often include pumps, which supply water to distribution systems. Although rainwater is non-potable, it can be safely used for lawn irrigation and washing cars. Some active systems incorporate water treatment technologies, which make rainwater safe for washing, toilet flushing and evaporative cooling.

Rainwater harvesting systems can be connected to different distribution systems for lawn irrigation, such as direct systems, which pump rainwater directly to draw-off points, and gravity systems, which can switch to drinking water when the rainwater supply is depleted.

In conclusion, green building is not only about sustainable design and construction; it is also about integrating the latest technologies in building design to ensure rational use of natural resources.

Sustainability Certification: Economics and Environmental Issues Don’t Have to Clash

sustainability certification economicsMany times debates will stage environmentalism as uneconomical, but even low level sustainability certification can be an affordable approach to participation in helping the planet. A building does not have to get LEED certified in order to take credit and enjoy the benefits of going green. Every business can play a part in helping improve the environment and help its own financial situation at the same time by cutting costs on energy and waste. 

Sustainability Certification 

One of the biggest arguments against LEED certification, the highest sustainability certification available to businesses, is that it is cost prohibitive. Renovating buildings to be more environmentally safe can require extensive replacement of toxic materials with green materials. A more affordable option for smaller companies or businesses that cannot afford massive renovation is Class-G, which is an online sustainability self-certification platform. The goal of the platform is to provide sustainability tracking so that businesses are aware of which environmental improvements need to be made to a building.

Any business can qualify for this environmental improvement system that allows them to measure, track and enhance sustainability over time. Class-G is an affordable easy-to-use platform run by sustainability experts. The company provides transparency by allowing people to comment on each sustainability claim. Tracking is done for all locations on one dashboard, which can help a company determine which locations need better practices. The platform comes with tools that allow employees, customers and stakeholders to communicate. Class-G provides certifications through a simple online process. It allows a company to monitor measurement levels for air, health, energy, water, materials and waste reduction.

Green Benefits

There are many benefits to going green including reducing waste, creating better energy efficiency, removing harmful chemicals and making health conditions better. One of the biggest factors that every business should be concerned with is reputation. A growing sentiment across the entire world is that businesses need to be more environmentally responsible. Gaining sustainability certification, even at an entry level, helps a company’s reputation among clients and the rest of the business community. This credibility is important for corporations with multiple business locations.

Measurements are based on a simple checklist that takes under an hour to complete. The checklist offers three categories: Yes, No and Wish list, a feature that allows a business to prepare for future sustainability goals. The certification is issued as a plaque that can be posted for customers to view.