I had the pleasure of podcasting with Dave Kelly, Vice President of Product Developement at Aquascape, Inc., the maker of the RainXchange, explaining the virtues of the Company’s residential and commercial rain harvesting system. To hear the podcast, click the link below.
I have been having a ongoing love affair with rainwater harvesting systems ever since I learned about the concept. My chance came when I was building my house six years ago. My then irrigation specialist discouraged me from installing a system. I looked to him for guidance since I had no idea where to find one.
When we discussed the system, he gave me one of those discouraging looks and told me it would be expensive and ugly. “Did I really want a big old cistern in my yard?” he responded. But when I explained I wanted an underground cistern attached to my dry wells, again he explained it would be very expensive. The concept of rainwater harvesting for residential was like discussing your family’s dirty secrets. Keep it to yourself, otherwise, everyone will think you are foolish. The cost of water is cheap. Why would I want this?
But for years, I yearned for a rainwater harvesting system, and would constantly search the internet looking for someone in New Jersey who installed them. Perhaps today would be the day some company would pop up on the internet that would fulfill my dream. Buying a big old cistern from Texas seemed silly when I live in New Jersey. I knew that retrofitting at this point would be expensive since it meant excavation. But it did not stop a girl from dreaming.
One day my landscaper handed me a brochure about the RainXchange which illustrated the above residential rainwater harvesting system with a beautiful water feature. I looked at him in disbelief. See, my landscaper is one of those old timers. When I suggest adding compost when you plant, he thinks I am crazy. All you need is good old soil, he would reply. But here he was handing me a very new age concept. (The green age.) I guess he was puzzled by my look and explained , “everyone is going green these day.” That they are.
What I love about the RainXchange is you are not only installing a rain harvesting system, but gaining the added benefit of a bubbling urn water feature. My neighbor has a water feature in her yard and it produces the most amazing soothing sounds. In addition the water features attract wildlife, and keep the water circulating in the below ground modules. No West Nile virus here.
From a design perspective, these 26.5”L x 16”W x 17.5 AquaBlox™ Water Matrix® Tank Storage Modules can be layouted in any configuration. If you want to install a system under a driveway, alongside a driveway or in a limited space, the blocks can be arranged to accommodate your configuration. 85% of the content of the module is made out of recycled polyethylene. For more information about the installation of the system, see here as well as videos of how to install the system, the modules, booster pumps and downspot filters.
Unlike a rain barrel, the Company states the RainXchange system filters the stored water to prevent stagnation and growth of unhealthy bacteria. It can be used for as simple task as a residential rain harvesting system to water your plants with a hose or as complex as a commercial rain water system for storm water management and rain harvesting. Installing a RainXchange system contributes to LEED credits in the area of sustainable sites (storm water management), water efficiency (rainwater harvesting), and material and resources (recycled content of the modules). The Company further states that this system could potentially lead to a LEED credit in innovative and design process given the application.
Pictured above is Aquascape’s patio which features pervious pavers in conjunction with a 3000 gallon system. The bubbling urn on the patio spills water over into the pervious pavers and is captured by the rain harvesting system. The Company uses the rain harvesting system to irrigate their landscape.
How do you determine what size system you need? The Company provides a design calculator that helps you to determine the size of your system. However, if you only wish to water a portion of your landscaping such as your perennials or vegetable garden, you size your system appropriately. The Company can provide you with a list of certified RainXchange installers to help you calculate your needs and install your system.
What about the cost and payback? Right now with the price of water being inexpensive, the payback could be 20 years. Kelly explained the cost of water will be rise due to the need to update antiquated water infrastructures Most people who are installing the systems according to Kelly want to do the right thing for the environment. A 500 gallon system installed will cost about $5000; however, as you increase the size of the system, the cost per gallon decreases.
I would encourage you to listen to the above podcast since Kelly describes in detail the advantages of the RainXchange. I have merely tried to wet your appetite to explore this system for your backyard or at your business. Think bubbling urn, beautiful birds floating about, and rainwater showering your plants from water that you stored. You may never want to leave your backyard.