Friday, July 19, 2013

Twisted Cistern!

Couldn't resist a little 'heavy metal' pun in the title. But all bad jokes aside, cisterns and rain barrels are a great solution for anyone looking to reduce water costs, landscape sustainably and help reduce water overflow and run-off.

Cisterns and rain barrels are essentially the same thing. Cisterns are large rain barrels. They are both large tanks that capture water from a collection area (i.e. downspout). These tanks can be used to capture, store and reuse rain water. The tanks can be installed either below or above ground, but require a proper base since a full tank can weigh a few hundred pounds and may sink if not installed correctly.

Rain water from most roofs can be considered "gray water" and can be used for processes such as watering plants and flushing toilets. In addition, using a cistern or rain barrel reduces the load of storm water and helps prevent run-off. It also helps reduce the use of potable water for irrigation.

For a relatively low cost, you can install a cistern with some accessories to water your plants and help reduce your water costs. Cisterns and Rain barrels are low maintenance but typically require a cleaning once a year and regular inspection to ensure seals are functional and that there are no clogs in the system.

If you are interested in this or other great green landscaping/construction solutions please give us a call 301-603-1080.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Spotlight on Green Roofing.

Ever seen a house that looked like it was sporting a toupee of grass? While there are varying degrees of green roofing, from partially covered to fully covered green roofing is a sustainable trend that has been on the rise in recent years.


Green roofs can be installed in place of or in complement to traditional roofing. The vegetation typically weighs more than traditional roofing so a structural engineer may be needed to verify that the building can support the weight. In addition, the plants may require a drainage or irrigation system and additional care must be taking to waterproof the area below the plants to prevent leaks that may damage the structure of the building.

Although the structure of the green roof is more complex, there are many benefits that come along with it. In addition to absorbing rainfall and helping to prevent runoff, green roofs also provide additional insulation which helps reduce heating and cooling costs. Green roofing also helps to reduce the heat island effect, filters pollutants and provides habitats for wildlife.

If you are interested in installing a green roof but worried about the cost, check out this cool cost estimator, which compares the cost of a green roof, a traditional asphalt roof and a white roof over time.