Posts Tagged ‘rainwater infrastructure’

Sustainable Site Development – Rain Water Harvesting Presentation In Chicago March 1, 2012

New Tools for Sustainable Site Development

Rain Water Harvesting and Condensate Recovery

Presentation by Tom Barrett


Thursday, March 1, 2012 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.


The Chicago Center for Green Technology

445 N. Sacramento Blvd
(between Chicago Ave. and Lake St.)

Chicago, Illinois


AIS Continuing Eduction Units: 2

“Water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink.” wrote Samuel Taylor Coleridge in The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. In its Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, the American Society of Civil Engineers rated our nation’s wastewater, stormwater, and drinking water systems a “D” minus. This is the lowest grade in any infrastructure category. The most alarming conclusion is the next lowest grade is “F” – FAILURE. Over the last fifty years America has not invested in new practices and technologies which can enhance our infrastructure and our environment. Rainwater harvesting and condensate recovery are transformative approaches to sustainable site development.

“The over-borrowing, over-consuming, and under-innovation (is) now in the US. . .,” Antonio van Aqtmael said in an October 2007 issue of Newsweek. As engineering solutions to water management that protects, restores, and mimics the natural water cycle. Rainwater harvesting and condensate recovery incorporates both the natural environment and engineered systems to provide clean water, conserve ecosystems, and provide a wide variety of benefits for people and wildlife. Additionally, all this can be accomplished at a significantly lower cost than conventional concrete and mortar infrastructure.

Join Tom Barrett as he explains how the use of locally produced water helps develop a “natural approach” to efficient use of water and relieves stormwater management issues.


“. . . best class at CCGT so far, rainwater data, new ideas, charts and stats, all the different ways I can use the rainwater for my home.”
” . . . great speaker, the positive outlook, no blame game, examples (drip system), knowledgeable, class got to participate.

Speaker’s Biography – Tom Barrett

Tom Barrett is an accomplished corporate growth and change agent with over thirty years of industry experience. Tom’s leadership experience, holding executive level positions, drives corporate revenue growth through change and innovation for business start-ups, corporate expansions, and divisional turnarounds.

Tom Barrett has been delivering energetic, dynamic presentations and training for over twenty years. These presentations empower people to become masters of change rather than victims of circumstance by developing tools for transformational thinking.

“Tom’s been a leader with smart water technologies, green roofs, rainwater harvesting and other emerging technologies well before they became buzzwords at water conferences. It’s impressive to work with Tom because he knows his stuff from the ground up.”

Jeff Carowitz, Strategic Force Marketing



Event Registration

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Rain Gardens & Bioswales – An Overview

Brownsburg, Indiana

January 20, 2011

Rain Gardens and bioswales are some of our most effective tools in implementing sustainable water practices.

In this presentation, Barrett will discusses how rain gardens and bioswales protect, restore, and mimic the natural water cycle. Additionally, Tom explains how rain gardens and bioswales can help develop a natural solution for water efficiency, and relieve storm water management issues. Rain Gardens and bioswales create natural filters through which our rainwater can flow. We are in essence helping to remove the contaminants, while reducing the speed and volume in which the water runs to the storm drains. By choosing to create a rain garden or other environmentally responsible landscape solution, we can reduce the contaminants that collect in the sewer systems, and make a significant improvement for a cleaner and healthier environment.

View more presentations from Tom Barrett.

2010 Water Conference Report

How Can the Irrigation Industry Take a Leadership Role in Addressing our Water Challenges?

A report from the Irrigation Association’s 2010 Water Conference

By MaryLou Smith

““Rainwater is beautiful water. Why aren’’t we using it?”” Tom Barrett asked. He then proposed justification and techniques for keeping rainwater on site so that it can be used to help fulfill water needs.

Designing impermeable surfaces to capture rainwater is key, he said, and that requires being able to hold water from when it falls to when we need it. He cited the example of Chicago, which receives average rainfall, where a three-acre commercial lot could capture and utilize almost three million gallons a year. Alternatively, Barrett posed, that water becomes stormwater, which is considered our number one source of water pollution and which costs a considerable amount of money to manage.

How can we effectively use that rainwater and keep it from becoming stormwater? Barrett suggested a variety of solutions, including:

  • Size the landscape to absorb anticipated rainwater, including roof and hardscape runoff
  • Use the harvested rainwater within 30 hours. . .
  • Create a concave landscape. . .
  • Collect runoff, filter it, apply it to the landscape and create habitats

Though rainwater barrels have received much publicity recently, Barrett pointed out that they can be unattractive, the water must be used soon, and the barrel must have a sealed lid to keep out mosquitoes. Alternatively, both above and below-ground cisterns are available, which can be set up to provide water for all kinds of non-potable uses and can even be fitted with automatic sensors which switch to the use of city water when the cistern is out of water.

Another point made by Barrett is that landscape architects need to begin incorporating more permeable surfaces into their designs so that rainwater that does escape our immediate or on-site stored use can be absorbed underground, reducing flooding and stormwater pollution.

Rainwater Infrastructure

Rainwater Infrastructure from Accent On Business on Vimeo.