Rainwater harvesting in commercial buildings can reap substantial savings as they have a very high water demand for toilet flushing with high volumes of staff and visitors using water each day. With current economic conditions the way they are, we all need to reduce costs, and/or increase sales. I believe that rainwater harvesting could provide both:

The larger the roof space, the bigger the catchment area for collection of rainwater and hence the greater the benefits. Commercial premises generally have a greater demand for non-potable water for cleaning and toilet facilities (as we know, a domestic application could save upto 50% on your water supply, commercial applications could see much greater savings as they don’t tend to have baths/showers etc!). Conversely, by having a large roof area these buildings possess a natural facility to recoup large amounts of water and, in turn, deliver substantial savings. Similarly, there is not necessarily the need for burying the tank under-ground, as aesthetics are not usually as important as they are in a domestic application. Therefore, keeping installation costs down.

Clients in the commercial sector have benefited significantly from including a rainwater system in the early stages of a project, but retro fitting doesn’t necessarily cost more. A typically large roof area, coupled with high water usage yields rapid paybacks, Profitability is a key factor in any business and a rainwater harvesting system can help to increase profits by lowering operating costs and reducing your water charges. This would include a reduction in waste water charge, as this is based upon water supplied (95%).

Commercial companies are more aware now of their responsibility to the environment on a local and global scale and many environmental standards such as ISO 14000 and BREEAM, can only be obtained by demonstrating your active commitment to the environment.

Many companies have internal policies on water use, particularly local authorities who are aiming to reduce water consumption by 30% in all of their buildings over the next three years.

The Enhanced Capital Allowance (ECA) scheme allows businesses to claim 100 per cent first year capital allowances on investments in technologies and products included in the ECA list of water efficient technologies. Details of ECA and products can be seen at www.eca.gov.uk. Therefore making it even more financially viable.

No two buildings are alike and this should be taken into account when assessing the system’s components. Each system installation is bespoke, with carefully selected tanks, filters and control systems. The monitoring and telemetry can also be linked into building management systems.

Whether it is from a cost-saving, environmental or storm water management standpoint, a good consultant/installer can evaluate the site conditions and design a cost-effective, easy to use system that is tailored for your specific building application.

Each system should be capable of being upgraded and can be linked into future development expansion or potential change of use, and there is no limit to size of tank/s, assuming there is enough space.

Another important point to note, is the potential PR surrounding such an installation. Any local paper/trade journal is always interested in a “green” story. What’s a good story worth to your business? I beleive you wouldn’t need to use a PR company to get this sort of story in the paper. Think of that as a further saving?

As you can see, rainwater harvesting can make great commercial sense.

A few facts to think about

1). Only 1% of the earths water is available for drinking
2). A toilet uses on average 11 litres per flush
3). It is estimated that between 14 and 17 per cent more water will be needed for irrigation by 2030 to feed the world’s growing population


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