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Using rainwater and grey-water to reduce fresh-water consumption

Resources:
Water
Sector:
All sectors
Cost:
Medium cost
Annual saving:
10 - 15 % / 8000 - 25000€
Payback time:
10 - 30 Year(s)
Read more
Resource savings: Water:
Using rainwater for toilet flushing, a company of 100 employees can save 300 m3 (water-saving WCs) to 400 m3 (9-litre WCs) of fresh-water annually
Associated cost savings: Water:
10 - 15%
Payback time:
Equipment costs in water-recycling facilities are generally higher and the payback period longer than for other water-efficiency measures (achievable savings for grey-water recycling are higher than for rainwater recycling) Water costs and waste-water treatment fees vary greatly in different regions and this has an impact on economic feasibility
Total cost savings:
For a company of 100 employees using rainwater for flushing toilets, savings depend on the water efficiency of WCs and costs for fresh-water and sewage Savings for grey-water recycling largely depend on local conditions (e.g. suitable grey-water, possible uses)
Premises and operation areas:
Office building, Production building
Size of company:
Micro (less than 10), Small (less than 50), Medium (less than 250), Large (more than 250)
Advancement in applying resource efficiency measures:
Intermediate, Advanced
What is in it for you:
The use of rainwater and grey-water can reduce the cost of fresh-water as well as sewage.
Descriptive information:

Rainwater and grey-water can be used instead of fresh-water in a number of applications, including toilet flushing, cleaning and irrigation, which reduces fresh- and waste-water volumes and corresponding costs. 

Grey-water is slightly polluted waste-water e.g. from showers or production. It can be easily treated and reused in different processes. Rainwater can be used in, for example, fire-fighting reservoirs, as cooling water or in heating systems. Rainwater can be collected from roof-tops, filtered and stored in reservoirs. Rainwater also contains no chalk, so less detergent or chemicals are needed when used for cleaning.

Using rainwater and grey-water can reduce the cost of fresh-water as well as for sewage. In addition to water-efficiency measures, water recycling can reduce fresh-water consumption by about 10 %, which has financial and environmental benefits, especially in water-poor regions trying to mitigate the impacts of climate change. 

The installation of rainwater and grey-water recycling systems is applicable to all new buildings. Retrofitting such systems to existing buildings is expensive and impractical unless the building is undergoing extensive renovation. Building ownership is also an issue for the renovation of buildings with these systems.

Sources

European Commission/Joint Research Centre  (2012), Reference Document on Best Enviromental Management Practice in the building and construction sector, final report, http://susproc.jrc.ec.europa.eu/activities/emas/documents/ConstructionSe...

Frei  (2013), Energetische Nutzung von Regenwasser, fbr-Tagungsband p.51

DBU (2012), Abschlussbericht: Ganzheitliche energetische Betrachtung einer Wäscherei als Lösungsansatz für prozessintegrierte Energieeinsparung zur nachhaltigen Steigerung der Energieeffizienz von Wäschereien, Phase I, Aktenzeichen: 28612, http://www.dbu.de/OPAC/ab/DBU-Abschlussbericht-AZ-28612_01.pdf, p.11, p.31

Further Information

European Commission/Joint Research Centre, Reference Document on Best Enviromental Management Practice in the building and construction sector, final report, September 2012,  http://susproc.jrc.ec.europa.eu/activities/emas/documents/ConstructionSe...

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