6 Things to Know About Rainwater Harvesting When Building a Home

Building a Home?

Building a home can be an exciting but also stressful time; so we put together these 6 things that are helpful to know in the build process if you are considering rainwater harvesting.


Rainwater Harvesting and the Home Building Process

These two run hand-in-hand. Planning a rainwater harvesting system during the build process is the best time to do it. It allows the system to work perfectly in the home that it is servicing.

1. Rooftop Matters – Shingles, Tin, and More

As you may have guessed, roof type matters with rainwater harvesting. It’s the first “step” in the rainwater harvesting system process. Without a good rooftop type, the “foundation” of the system is weak and will not work properly.

So what types of roof material is good and what types should you stay away from? I’ll list them below, but I’ll also say that you should definitely run your exact rooftop selection by rainwater harvesting professional just to double-check that it will work properly.

Roof types that Work Well with Rainwater Harvesting:

  • Tin
  • Asphalt Shingles – (There are some asphalt shingles that will NOT work with rainwater harvesting, so be sure to have the exact type-checked by a rainwater harvesting professional)
  • Clay Tiles
  • Ceramic
  • Cement
  • Rubber

Roof types that Will Not Work with Rainwater Harvesting:

Wood/Cedar/Shake Shingles – (These tend to leach contaminants and retain mold and algae which make it impossible to use for whole-house potable use.)

2. Surface Footprint of the Roof

The roof footprint is the size of the roof in 2 dimensions; meaning if you look at the roof from the top-down view, how big is the roof?

The larger the roof footprint, the more rain that can be collected in a given rain event. Thankfully, it rains enough here in the southeast that you don’t need a large roof to use rainwater harvesting as a primary water source.

3. Water Availability & Reliability

Are you building a home that will need a well? Or are you planning on paying to have a municipal water line installed? Will your home be on top of a mountain or somewhere that water can have low pressure or other water troubles?

I would urge you to consider rainwater harvesting as your new water source. There are many benefits of rainwater harvesting when it comes to water quality, reliability, water pressure, and more.

4. Stormwater Management

Something that you may have not considered yet, but it is always on the mind of the builder is stormwater management. Rainwater harvesting allows for your stormwater management costs to turn into an asset rather than an expense.

Normal stormwater management such as water diversion, retention ponds, and more can be costly and are of no benefit to the homeowner. Rainwater harvesting, however, provides a complete water source for the home AND provides excellent stormwater management all one system.

5. Landscape Design

When building your home, you also need to think “outside the home” – what do you want your landscape design to be? Getting rainwater harvesting involved during the build process allows for maximum discreteness from the rainwater harvesting system.

Above or below ground storage is available, but below ground storage is much easier during the build process.

6. Get Started in the Design Stage

We would highly recommend bringing in a rainwater harvesting professional during the design process in the early stages of the home build. This ensures a rainwater harvesting that works perfectly for the home.

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