One unfortunately common misconception about "going green" is that doing so means drastically changing ones life or abolishing all luxuries. While a crucial part about living an eco-friendly lifestyle is reducing ones consumption and therefore minimizing ones waste, one thing I love most about trying to live a sustainable life is noticing how doing something the "green" way is often just the smarter way. Using rain barrels to collect rain and reuse around your house is a perfect example of this.
In this TreeHugger Tip, musician and activist Jack Johnson, talks about how he's installed a rain collection system and how he's used it to teach his children about conservation.
The Benefits of Using Rain Barrels
Rain barrels are smart for a couple reasons. They save you money by reducing the amount of clean water you have to buy from the city to water your plants. And they help the environment by reducing the demand for clean water from the city, which requires energy to process.
As you probably know, keeping a lawn requires a lot of resources. A lawn requires a massive amount of water - a third of all residential water use in the United States goes towards landscaping - and many people use gas-powered mowers to cut it. If you're not ready to turn your lawn into a garden, but do want to have a nice green yard without as much eco-guilt, using rain barrels to collect the rain water off your house will help.
We've already covered reel mowers and electric lawn mowers, which work great, save you money on gasoline and allow you to reduce your pollution while maintaining your lawn. Rain barrels are just as sensible. Collecting rain water can help you cut down on the amount of drinking water you waste on your lawn, which will not only reduce your monthly water bill saving you money, but will also help the environment by saving that clean drinking water from the city for your other water needs.
Even if you only use the rain barrel water for a percentage of the water you use around the outside of your house, doing so will help reduce your consumption.
How To Install Rain Barrels
Installing a rain barrel collection system requires little more than a container, a screen to keep out bugs and debri and some hosing to attach to the barrel for watering your lawn and plants. Place the barrel near the down spout of your gutters and run the spout into the barrel. You can be as basic or professional as you'd like with this, but that is essentially all you have to do. Attach a spout and hose near the bottom of the barrel and you'll be able to use gravity to run the water through the hose.
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