Every drop counts. Save water from going to waste, with a rain barrel.

Image: Salvatore Vuono /

Besides the lack of affordable housing in Vancouver, our rain is definitely high up on the list of characteristics our city is known for. Vancouver receives 43.98 inches of rain every year. While many gripe about it, you can use it to your advantage by incorporating ways of harvesting this water into your home so you can use it to live more sustainably.

Because the environment is always valued by our company, Smallworks’ laneway houses include some eco-friendly options like green roofs, solar panels, and sustainable heating systems. Promoting the conservation of rain water and the use of rain barrels is an extension of our environmental focus.  Even if you don’t own a laneway house yet, you can still green your home by installing a rain barrel to the gutters of your current house or townhouse.

Here’s how.

Just how much water do we use?

On average, Vancouver residents use more than 340 L per day in their households. During the summer, this water consumption can double, with 40% of residential water use going to watering lawns, gardens, and household plants.

Uses for rain barrel water

Collecting rain water in a barrel and using it to water your plants instead of using treated drinking water is an alternative that is greener and more cost-effective, and is actually better for your lawn, as rain water stays chemical- and chlorine-free.

Some other ways you can use the water you collect in rain barrels include the following:

  • Washing vehicles
  • Washing clothes
  • Cleaning floors
  • Flushing toilets
  • Filling water guns, water balloons and children’s swimming pools.

These are just some of the ways you can put rain water to use instead of letting it go to waste.

The raindrops you conserve with a rain barrel can keep your whole garden watered.

How rain harvesting works with a rain barrel

With a rain barrel, your roof is the water catchment area that collects rain water and sends it down your gutters to fill your rain water container. You can make your own rain barrel for as little as $20, or buy more sophisticated systems.  One inch of rain falling on a 1,000 square foot roof will yield 600 gallons of water

[source: Healthy Landscapes]. You can yield an impressive amount of water from a few centimetres of rainfall.

Rain barrel subsidy for Vancouver residents

If you are a resident of the City of Vancouver, you can take advantage of a subsidy by the City that lets you purchase a 341-litre-capacity rain barrel at $75 (plus tax) – that’s 50% off.

By harvesting rain water, you can save water and lower the cost of community water treatment. It’s a sustainable option worth considering on the route to affordable housing in Vancouver.

If you’re having a laneway house built by Smallworks and want a rain barrel, let us know and we’ll be more than happy to budget for one and install it for you.

By | 2016-11-15T09:05:58+00:00 February 21st, 2012|How to Live Green While You Live Small|

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