McMaster University’s Rainwater Harvesting System

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McMaster University’s Rainwater Harvesting System

Here at AquaMaster, we're always excited to hear about innovations in water conservation. Needless to say, we were thrilled when we heard about the Engineering Technology Building at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. The building, which has a LEED Gold certification, also houses a number of labs where students can learn about current water conservation methods, carry out experiments and potentially develop new techniques for water conservation. One of the most impressive features of this building is that it is home to Canada's first Rainwater Harvesting System producing both non-potable and potable water. Collecting, filtering and disinfecting rainwater for drinkable and non-drinkable uses, McMaster's Rainwater Harvesting System is the first of its kind. Here's how it works...

First, it collects rainwater on two roofs with white reflective membranes. This water is then redirected to two 25 cubic metre (11,000 gallons or 41,640 liters) cisterns. Next, the water passes through sand, carbon and micro filters. At this point, the water is non-potable—i.e. safe for use in toilets and urinals. To make the water safe for drinking, it passes through a UV disinfection system. The potable water is then directed through the building for use in water fountains and even the on-site coffee shop.

Through continuous, web-enabled remote and onsite monitoring, it is easy to track the system's performance. In the two years since the system has been operational, there hasn't been a single poor water sample! As an added advantage, the Rainwater Harvesting System requires very little in terms of maintenance and associated costs.

McMaster University's Rainwater Harvesting System is a huge step forward in water conservation. We can only hope that, in the future, it will be adapted for commercial and residential use.

If you're looking for ways to conserve water (and money) in your home, consider installing an energy-efficient water softener. Not only will it eliminate water waste, but it will also reduce the amount of soap and detergent required to keep your clothes and dishes clean. This helps to decrease the amount of harmful residues entering the environment. With benefits like healthier skin, longer-lasting clothes, cleaner dishes, and lower energy bills - you won't regret installing a water softener.