With water quality and scarcity issues persisting throughout the country, water conservation efforts such as water harvesting are becoming increasingly important to many businesses, municipalities, and commercial building owners. Though smaller-scale sustainability efforts such as installing rain barrels can make a difference, investing in a large-scale, commercial water harvesting system can greatly benefit both your business and the environment.
Reduced Municipal Water Use
Depending on the size of the building, installing a commercial water harvesting system can result in upwards of a million gallons or more of municipal water savings per year, reducing pressure on municipal water sources such as groundwater and aquifers. During Wahaso’s scoping process, all potential sources and uses of harvestable water are analyzed, as is rain event data from the past six years. After evaluating supply and demand conditions, Wahaso uses experience from designing and building hundreds of water harvesting systems to recommend the best type of system for your building, based on efficiency in terms of total system cost and total water saved through reuse. This may be a single-source system, such as a rainwater harvesting system, but often multiple sources of harvestable water are used in order to maximize water savings. By combining sources of harvestable water (for example, rainwater and greywater), a commercial water harvesting system can often meet 100% of irrigation or toilet flushing needs for the building, eliminating the need to use municipal water for those purposes.
By using harvested water for non-potable uses, the building’s demand for municipal water is reduced, resulting in significant cost savings over the life of the building. Installing a commercial water harvesting system can translate into thousands of dollars of savings on municipal water bills each year, in addition to the hundreds of thousands of gallons of water savings. System payback can occur within the first few years, depending on factors such as the system installed, system efficiency, and the cost of municipal water. We communicate the efficiency and annual dollar savings early in the scoping process, so building owners can evaluate the total value of investing in a water harvesting system. There are also funding resources available such as grants, loans, and stormwater fee discounts for commercial water conservation efforts.
LEED Certification Credits
Many building owners interested in water harvesting are often also considering LEED certification for their project. The U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design program (LEED) is the most widely used rating system for green building in the world, with certified projects in over 160 countries. The most recent version of LEED, LEED v4, has an increased focus on water conservation, with up to 15 LEED points available for water conservation efforts alone. Wahaso encourages building owners to pursue LEED certification, and can help your project earn the maximum number of LEED credits available through water harvesting. For more information, visit our LEED certification page.
About the Writer: Emily Avellana is an Elmhurst College graduate with a degree in Marketing, and a Marketing Assistant at Wahaso.