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Energy saving, sustainability, reducing emissions, reducing water usage – these are the hottest topics in a number of sectors as increasingly we become aware of the fragility of the planet’s future and place within it.
It falls to a number of companies that operate within these sectors to invest in the technology and the practical solutions that help us to address these challenges – and one of those is Wilo – one of the leading manufacturers in the pumps and pumping systems sector, a German company that now operates on a global scale and one that is happily building on its traditions of engineering excellence.
It has been looking at these areas for many years, developing and offering some of the most energy efficient, environmentally friendly products in their market sector, that you can buy. So it will come as no surprise that amongst its developments, you’ll find a range of products designed and manufactured to address the issue of rainwater harvesting – a technology area that like so many is far further ahead both in development and consumer acceptance in mainland Europe than it is here in the UK.
The advantage s that Wilo brings to the rainwater harvesting issue is an established understanding of the problem combined with a response to the problem that offers a number of pre-developed solutions that can slot happily into the rainwater harvesting needs of UK contractors, developers and homeowners.
So first of all let’s ask the fundamental question – why do we want to ‘harvest’ rainwater? It’s simply that water is an increasingly valuable resource and whilst it comes from the sky, you never know exactly in what quantity or exactly when it will come. What is happening is really a major waste of expensive, cleaned water.
For years, here in the UK we have happily ‘cleaned’ the water supply before flushing it down the toilet. Do we need to use potable – drinkable water to flush out toilets? To wash our cars? To water our gardens? Clearly the answer is no. Water that falls from the sky is in the main clean and an excellent source of water for those tasks that don’t involve drinking, cooking and personal hygiene. What would make huge sense was if all homes and businesses had two sources of water – one for the aforesaid drinking, cooking and personal hygiene and another for flushing toilets and washing cars and arguably our clothes too. That might happen, but in the meantime, many people are looking at the option of harvesting the rainwater that falls on their roofs, makes its way through a mesh filter, saving it in a tank, usually underground, and pumping it from that tank to be used in a number of non-potable applications. Why? Because it can reduce the demand on the potable water supply provided by the water companies, it can reduce water costs – particularly if you have a metered water supply of course – and can show a significant reduction in the volume of ‘clean’ water used. Its imperative that you have the facility of ‘topping up’ your water needs from the mains should the supply in your harvesting tank fall short for any reasons. It’s a necessary belt and braces solution.
Rainwater harvesting systems are far less obtrusive and can be significantly cheaper to install if they are planned into a building – either domestic or commercial at the outset. Retrofitting a rainwater harvesting system is perfectly possible but planning it into the original building makes a huge amount of sense if you can.
So why is Wilo an option you should consider if you’re sold on the idea of rainwater harvesting? Again, very simply because they have been building and working with contractors in Germany for decades and you have access to years of experience as well as to proven systems that quite simply work well. Whilst in the UK many people thinking of rainwater harvesting as an option will go down the road of looking for all the elements they need to install one, before cobbling them together, with Wilo you get the advice you need to make sure you have a working package – the pumps, the tank, the filters, and all the ancillaries including the clever electronics if you want them. Along with help in understanding the legislation and regulations that are involved in the process.
John Laming is Wilo’s Rainwater harvesting specialist and specification manager: “The technology and the systems exist – it’s just a case of specifying the right system for each job. We can look at each scenario and work out quickly which solution is the right one – assuming it is the right one. We recommend only harvesting rainwater from roof areas – not from other surfaces, such as roads for example. You have to look at the roof area and its collecting ability in conjunction with the number of people in the property you are considering using a system for. A tall office block with a relatively small roof area and huge numbers of people working in it may not be ideally suited for a rainwater harvesting project. Typically in offices, around 60-65% of all water usage is to flush toilets and urinals. It might be ideal for a new home for example, where there’s a large roof area relative to the number of people living in the property – so each opportunity is different and you have to look carefully at each case to see if it’s a viable option. That’s what we do for you before anything else.”