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.