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By Roelf Nel

GO GREEN AND HARVEST RAIN WATER

Today there is a huge emphasis on going green. Whether it’s recycling, being aware of using natural products, eating organic food and so the list goes on. One way of going green on your property is to consider harvesting rain water.

A few benefits of harvesting rain water includes:

  • It’s better for the Environment: The more water we can leave in the ground, the better for the planet.
  • Create Your Own Private Reserve: When the local municipality works on the water main, you don’t have to worry about the water supply that gets shut off.  You will have water on hand stored in your rain water tanks or rain barrels.
  • Plants Respond Better to Rainwater: Rainwater has been proven to grow stronger and healthier plants than those hydrated with municipal water. Usually the water from the municipal supply has been treated with filters and chemicals to make the water ‘safer’ for humans to consume. This makes it worse for plants.
  • Reduce Your Risk of Flooding: If you live in a particularly rainy part of the country, your property is at perpetual risk of flooding. The water supply gets backed up as the rainwater gushes into it. The ground can only absorb so much water before it gets water clogged. Your house will be at risk to structural damage by overflowing gutters. By collecting rainwater in rainwater tanks, you keep your gutters flowing properly, and you reduce the risk of over-saturation on your property.

There are different options to consider when implementing a rain harvesting system:
1. Above the ground tank: This is a tank that can be hidden anywhere in your garden. Rain water is collected from the roof and channelled into the underground pipes that lead to the tank.
2. Under the ground tank: Water is collected from the roof and is channelled into the underground pipes, but the water tank is under the ground. This is perfect for homes with small gardens or if you want your tank to be hidden out of sight.

Why not go green and harvest rain water, not only doing your part in contributing to the environment, but creating a home that inspires your friends and neighbours?

Follow Buildforce’s board Harvest Rain Water on Pinterest.

By Roelf Nel

Water Saving Ideas

What is grey water?
Any wash water that has been used in the home, except water from toilets, is called grey water. Shower, dish, sink, and laundry water comprise 50-80% of residential “waste” water. This may be reused for other purposes, especially landscape irrigation.

Why use grey water?
It’s a waste to irrigate with great quantities of drinking water when plants thrive on used water containing small bits of compost. Unlike a lot of ecological stopgap measures, grey water reuse is a part of the fundamental solution to many ecological problems and will probably remain essentially unchanged in the distant future. The benefits of grey water recycling include:

  • Lower fresh water use
  • Better treatment (topsoil is many times more effective than subsoil or treatment plant)
  • Groundwater recharge
  • Less energy and chemical use
  • Increased awareness of and sensitivity to natural cycles
  • Plant growth
  • Reclamation of otherwise wasted nutrients

Grey Water System
A grey water  system can be easily connected to your down-pipes on the outside of your house – either by yourself or the supplier. Your grey water system supplier will usually provide you with one or multiple hoses and sprinklers, spread around the garden. The supplier will also provide you with a pump that is strong enough to pump through two sprinklers simultaneously, covering up to 60 m² of your garden at once.

Common grey water problems

  • Storing grey water becomes a problem as it becomes progressively anaerobic (due to residual aerobic bacterial activity that exponentially depletes the dissolved oxygen). It is an ideal breeding ground for mosquitoes.
  • Grey water that is not treated properly is ‘fatty’ and gives off an offensive odour (from the build-up of dissolved anaerobic and sulphide gasses), especially when stored for a few days. It can smell really badly when irrigated out over vegetation.
  • Laundry, bath and kitchen sink wash water typically has a high fat content (from soaps, body and cooking fats), causing grey water to become slimy – not good for the grass

Basic ways you can reuse grey water

  • While waiting for the shower water to warm up, catch the water in a bucket, you can use this water for your plants.
  • Wash your dishes in a dishpan, then dispose of the water into your compost heap.
  • Left over water in your water bottle can be used to water a plant.

There are many small lifestyle adjustments you can make to conserve water. Get creative, have a discussion with friends and family, come up with a group plan on saving water.

Follow Buildforce’s board Greywater Systems on Pinterest.

By Roelf Nel

Concrete, the alternative option

Concrete is becoming an alternative finish for surfaces such as floors, ceilings, walls and even around the fireplace.

Raw concrete surfaces creates a pleasing contrast to painted, wooden and even tiled surfaces rather than looking unfinished or incomplete.  With the advancement of technology and additives it is possible to create a variety of different looks textures and patterns.

Ideas to create beautiful floors using concrete:

  1. Concrete floors can be stained or coloured to match any hue, and you can have your finish resemble a tile, slate or marble.
  2. Enhance your concrete floor using decorative stenciled borders, medallions and other custom graphics.
  3. Using metallic epoxy and polishing coatings offers a trendy look. Metallic epoxies contain real metallic powders or special reflective pigments to give concrete floors the look of copper, silver, aged bronze, nickel, and other shimmery patinas. They are especially popular in settings where a modern, upscale look is desired. Concrete polishing results in a floor with a smooth, high-luster finish that resembles polished stone, yet never requires waxing.
  4. Another floor that can benefit from decorative coating is the garage floor. There are special coatings that not only help to protect the floor from grease, oil stains and tire marks, but also impart color and texture. These heavy-duty epoxy-based systems are available in many color choices and can be enhanced by decorative quartz or color chips.

While you are considering what type of feel you would like to add to your home, consider concrete as an alternative surface to tiles or carpets.

 

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GO GREEN AND HARVEST RAIN WATER
Water Saving Ideas
Concrete, the alternative option