Using liners for residential rainwater collection systems is standard practice for green builders in Central Oregon and beyond. Homeowners interested in environmentally friendly building practices can look to rainwater harvesting to reduce water bills, irrigate landscaping and lawns, as well as to reduce demand on groundwater.
One of the simplest ways to reuse rainwater is to put a 55- to 90-gallon barrel at the end of a downspout or gutter to collect water from your home’s rooftop. Water captured in this way is most commonly used for non-drinking purposes such as gardening. However, with a professionally designed collection and filtration system, homeowners can enjoy clean rainwater for drinking and other potable purposes.
Be aware that residential rainwater collection systems laws and programs vary state by state. Historically, Colorado prohibited individuals from collecting and storing the rain even though droughts and frequent water shortages are common. However, under House Bill 1005 that went into effect in 2016, homeowners living in Colorado are now able to utilize up to two rain barrels with a maximum capacity of 110 gallons to capture water from rooftops.
Residential rainwater collection systems
The benefits residential rainwater collection and storage systems offer to homeowners are numerous. One of the biggest rewards of harvesting water from the sky is that you can decide to install a system at any time. While rooftops are the most eco-friendly way for homeowners to capture water runoff, urban stormwater management systems divert water from large paved surfaces and roofs to professionally designed storage containers underground.
Green architects and builders who design stormwater management systems understand their complexity. Large storage reservoirs and tanks are designed and built utilizing a system of tubes and liners to collect and store water runoff. Greywater is sometimes filtered to reduce contaminants before used to irrigate urban landscaping, school playing fields, or parks.
City codes and regulations across the country now require residential builders to install low-flow fixtures—sinks, faucets, shower heads, and toilets—that consume less water per minute than older, traditional models. Green building certifications such as the Living Building Challenge and Earth Advantage award points or credits towards certification for water management and conservation practices.
Is rooftop runoff water safe to drink?
The Washington Department of Ecology conducted an in-depth study to determine if water carried off rooftops during rainstorms contained pollutants. The roofing task force tested 16-types of roofing materials commonly used in home construction including green homebuilding.
The products and materials tested for steep-sloped residential roofs were as follows:
- Asphalt Shingles
- Straight Copper
- Painted Galvanized Steel
- Concrete Tiles
- Plain Wood Shingles
- Wood Shakes (chromate copper arsenate treated)
The good news is that asphalt-based shingles, do not release high concentrations of toxic metals into the rooftop water runoff. These types of shingles are the most common type of roof in residential construction throughout the United States.
Even so, homeowners should consult with a green design professional to determine if their roof materials are suitable for water harvesting. Additionally, rainwater coming off of any roof will have dirt, leaves, and other debris. To make stored stormwater safe for drinking and other domestic uses, choose a reliable filtering method such as UV purification or a combination of UV and carbon filtration
Rainwater harvesting is an innovative construction method that benefits homeowners, building owners, and the planet. By locally sourcing liners from BTL liners for residential applications, homeowners and builders can reduce their carbon footprint and keep it local—the true definition of environmentally friendly.