Biodegradable Bricks Collect Rainwater Automatically

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Using fallen leaves and discarded plastic bottles, two designers have created a recycled material that could turn buildings into automatic rainwater collection systems.

Thousands of gallons of free water fall on roofs, parking lots, and sidewalks every day only to flow directly down the drain. Rainwater collection systems are often bulky and (in some regions) illegal. But with the Save Water Brick, your home and other buildings could collect this precious resource automatically.

In the U.S., the average family of four can use up to 400 gallons of water every day. To encourage water conservation, Jin-young Yoon and Jeongwoong Kwon created a new type of brick that will effortlessly channel rain into nearby plants or holding tanks. This water can then be used for gardening, washing clothes, dishes, and lawn irrigation.

The biodegradable bricks are intended to be used in the outermost wall of a structure, and feature funnels that help to direct the rain water into a desired area instead of merely absorbing or shedding the water, like most traditional bricks.

While there’s no doubt that these multi-purpose bricks are an eco-friendly building material, there is some doubt as to whether they’ll truly be able to withstand four seasons of precipitation and temperature changes.

If you’re interested in giving them a try, it might be a good idea to start with a non-essential structure, like a gardening shed or doghouse.

Article by Beth Buczynski, appearing courtesy Crisp Green.

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  • http://www.sustainable-sites.com Chris Sonne

    This is an interesting product, but I’m not really clear on how it works. Typical masonry construction in the US minimizes the amount of rainfall running down the brick walls. Even if that were not the case, water is not going to follow a serpentine path down a vertical surface. If laid horizontally (for a patio), a small amount of water might follow this flow path, but larger flows will just overtop the channels. Permeable pavers already exist (and work very well) for capturing rainwater on these horizontal surfaces.

    Seems to me this brick would provide an interesting aesthetic feature to a building, but I don’t see any real potential for rainwater harvesting (without more information that is provided here).