Stormwater runoff from the built environment, often mixed with contaminants, has a damaging effect on local and downstream ecosystems. Porous paving products and vegetated roofing systems result in less rainwater runoff and thereby reduce surface water pollution. Stormwater treatment systems reduce pollutant levels in any water that is released. Again, quantifiable benefit and a strong track record are important determinants here of “green.”
All toilets and most showerheads today meet the federal water-efficiency standards, but not all of these products perform satisfactorily. With toilets and showerheads, we include products that meet or exceed WaterSense standards, which includes performance requirements—although we go beyond WaterSense where there are issues not adequately addressed by the program. We also look for other products that conserve potable water, such as rainwater catchment and graywater recovery and reuse systems.
While resilience—the ability to weather natural disasters and maintain livable conditions in the aftermath of disruptive events—is mostly an issue of building design and community preparedness, certain products can help. For example, almost all heating systems require electricity to operate even if their primary fuel is oil, gas, or wood pellets; systems that allow operation even if grid electricity is not available are more resilient in the event of power outages. Rainwater harvesting, water storage, composting toilets, and waterless urinals contribute to resilience not only in drought-prone areas but also during power outages in any home dependent on well water. Solar water heating systems that can operate without utility power, and back-up power systems that are more energy-efficient than standard generators, may have this attribute.
BRAE offers a full range of residential and commercial rainwater systems for non-potable and potable applications. Components for collection, storage, filtration, UV purification, and distribution are available. BRAE's residential systems range from small DIY gravity-fed or pumped above-ground systems to professionally installed systems with below-ground PE cisterns of 430-6,000 gallon capacity supplying pressurized water for for large homes, estates, or multi-unit housing. BRAE's commercial offerings include system design, contracting, and commissioning for rainwater system capacities up to 500,000 gallons. The Rainigator system is a turnkey 400-40,000 gallon system for irrigation that provides pressurized and treated water, pumped to distribution. BRAE also offers educational rainwater harvesting systems that are tailored to provide curriculum support. Tank options include above and below ground Polyethylene, Fiberglass (available as NSF-listed for potable-water use), modular Matrix D-Raintanks made from 100% recycled Polypropylene (also for stormwater detention), and cylindrical above ground tanks of Eastern Red Cedar, galvanized steel 'CorGal,' or pine 'TimberTanks' with a membrane liner. The pine 'TimberTanks' and Eastern Red Cedar tanks are available by special request only. BRAE has installed over 1,000 systems since its founding in 2002.
Rainwater harvesting is the practice of collecting and using rainwater, most commonly from roofs. Use of collected rainwater can provide building owners with high-quality soft water for irrigation and potable uses, reduce pressure on water-treatment plants, and reduce stormwater runoff and flooding. To use as potable water, filtration and purification are necessary.
GreenSpec includes a wide range of rainwater harvesting systems and components, including storage tanks and filtration systems for rainwater collection or treatment.
In addition to looking for products that meet your functional requirements, look for products with other environmental features such as recycled content, recyclability, and other materials-related benefits. Many rainwater products are formulated with performance in mind, and don't include recycled content, but GreenSpec hopes that will change and we will highlight such products in the future.
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