While the concept isn't new, rainwater collection continues to gain acceptance among foodservice operators.
Irrigation systems geared toward rainwater collection have improved significantly year after year, and they're getting less costly, says Paul Kuck, an analyst and project manager with Advantage IQ, an energy and resource management consulting firm. Beyond that, operators should make sure they're watering properly. "Water early in the morning, not at noon during the hottest time of day," he says. "And water only as much as you need. Some operators use a pulsing system that pulses water on for six minutes and off for ten, allowing the ground to soak up the water more efficiently. When you just let water run straight for a half-hour, excess water not immediately soaked off just runs off and gets wasted."
More advanced systems use satellite servers to monitor hour-by-hour weather patterns; this "smart" system can help determine when to water landscaping and when to hold off for a day or two. Kuck's seen clients using this technology save $2,000 in water utilities over a span of just a few months.
"In the Southwest it's probably not worth it to invest in one of these systems, but in the Midwest, with lots of spring and summer thunderstorms, that might be a good idea." These systems also work well in the rain-heavy Pacific Northwest that can see dry patches during the Sumer.
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