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.
The RainPerfect pump and solar panel can be adapted to most styles of rain barrel. The pump provides enough pressure to run water through a garden hose at 13 PSI, and the 3.5 W solar panel charges a NiMH battery for day or night operation. The RainPerfect system can pump up to 100 gallons of water per 8-hour charge.
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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