Designing a Commercial Rainwater Collection System for Irrigation

Designing a Commercial Rainwater Collection System for IrrigationWe recently discussed designing a residential rainwater collection storage for irrigation based on capacity and amount of irrigation needed. Now lets look into designing a commercial rainwater collection system for irrigation, based on the same theory.

Designing a Commercial Rainwater Collection System for IrrigationCommercial irrigation demands are significantly higher than residential, requiring much larger storage capacities. Landscaping of a commercial building can be extensive. The use of drought tolerant plants,  swales and rain gardens are becoming increasingly popular. New construction is required to infiltrate or use roof runoff. Rainwater collection can offset costs of expensive infiltration and cut municipal water supply usage.

Designing a Commercial Rainwater Collection System for IrrigationThe larger roof area of a typical commercial building will produce a large amount of water. If one square foot of surface area receives .623 gallons of water per 1″ of rainfall, a 20,000 square foot roof will yield approximately 12,460 gallons per 1″ of rain.  If 1″ of rainfall is required for the healthy growth of plants and 1 square foot of surface area receives .623 gallons per 1″ of rainfall, a 4,000 square foot area would require 2,492  gallons per week or 29,904 gallons stored for the 3 month dry period.

From these equations, you can see that careful thought to the landscaping will help bring the storage capacity down. As much as 50% reduction can be achieved by integrating both landscaping design and storage capacities. Generally, steel, bolted together “silo”, style tanks are best suited for commercial applications. Many architects are including these cisterns as focal points in their designs, adding a bit of an industrial look. Irrigation of landscaping uses most of its water during the summer months. By incorporating rain gardens or swales into the landscaping, considerable amounts of water can be infiltrated during the rainy season while stored water providing watering during the summer months.

Ken Blair
A rainwater collection systems designer and consultant, Ken has designed and installed residential and commercial systems, primarily in the northwest United States for more than 10 years and, in 2014, began consulting and managing builds in other states. Ken is an accredited ARCSA Professional Designer / Installer and Life Member, the Northwest Regional ARCSA representative and advisor to its education committee and is available to speak about Rainwater Collection Systems design and builds.

Ken is a United States Navy veteran, having served on active duty during the Vietnam War era. He attained the rate of E-4 Machinist Mate.

A career entrepreneur, Ken created a new business focus with a commercial dive company in Hawaii in the mid 1980′s to respond to and clean up oil spills, oil spill equipment training, service and maintenance for the oil co-op service industry. Ken is passionate about having a positive impact on the environment and is also a founding director of BANK-ON-RAIN (2011-2014), whose mission is to create grassroots solutions for rainwater collection for consumption and agriculture in developing areas of the planet.

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