Sunday, June 7, 2009

A modern rain barrel!

Wanted to take a step back to explain more about the conceptual/big picture reasons for integrating a rainwater harvesting system in the Montrose Green we mentioned before, the idea is to capture water in order to reuse it for plant irrigation while also reducing the volume and the speed of stormwater run off so that it can naturally percolate back into the ground, replenishing the groundwater.

The green roof already does a tremendous service in respect to slowing down stormwater. Excess water that is not absorbed by the plants or given back through evapotranspiration, slowly drains to a screened scupper box at the low point of the roof where it enters into a downspout, then drips down into the rear yard where it has time to be reabsorbed into the ground. Our proposed rainwater harvesting and rain garden system handle this excess water and continue to slow its speed. These simple strategies ensure that little to no run off will end up in the City's sewer system, which is already overtaxed and undersized.

In the event of a huge storm, one in which the green roof gets totally saturated and the rainwater collector and the rain garden both fill up... the excess water will next flow over the planter wall and into the rear yard, which will be comprised of permeable pavers that will allow for the water to percolate through. If there is still excess runoff, which is unlikely, the water will flow into an emergency overflow drain which runs to the City sewer system (this is why I say we are "essentially" disconnected).

Have you ever spend hours trolling the internet trying to find a decent looking rain barrel, let alone a simple, modern one? To the left is a detail shot of our prototype, commercial-grade, stainless steel rainwater collector, custom designed by Philly firm, Shift_Design, and locally fabricated. A movable panel on top allows it to be closed off for the winter without detaching the entire system. Additional detail images follow.

We are in the process of installing the whole system this week... so stay tuned for more updates.


Dubin said...

So when you close it off for the window, where is the water diverted? Just flows over it into the emergency drain? Yes, it's 5:30 am. Can't sleep. :)

Tom said...

minimal, elegant. Nice design.