Unique New Roof Concept for Arid Regions

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Water is growing scarce in many regions of the world, which in turn leads to food scarcity as well. To combat this problem the Iranian firm BMDesign Studios has come up with an innovative concept for a new type of roof, which would effectively collect rainwater and funnel it to be used for various purposes.

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The solution they’re proposing is a double-roof that has a bowl-shaped component, which is used for collecting rainwater. This design is also specially adapted to areas with low precipitation where the little water that falls also evaporates very quickly. The bowl-shaped roof is designed in a way that allows for even the tiniest quantities of rainwater to form bigger drops that can be successfully harvested before evaporating.

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The main roof of the home atop which this concave part would sit is also slightly domed, meaning that during the sunniest part of the day only a small part of the roof is exposed to direct sunlight, while the airflow between the two parts is also increased, which keeps the interior of the house cooler. The bowl part of the roof also provides extra shade.

They are estimating that a school building fitted with 9,935 sq ft (923 sq m) of this type of roof would allow for the collection of 7,396 gallons (28 cubic m) of water. The water collected in this way would be stored in tanks placed between the walls of the building, which would have the added benefit of passively cooling the interior. In this way, a lot of the carbon footprint of using air-conditioning would be offset. They are also proposing the construction of several “wind towers”, which would be used to introduce fresh air into the buildings topped by these new roofs.

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They are currently still working on perfecting their design with the aim of increasing the efficiency of water collection even further. Overall, it’s great to see architects using traditional methods and applying them when seeking modern solutions.

Residents In Nyabihu, Rwanda Start Harvesting Rainwater

In Rwanda, residents of the Mudende Sector, Nyabihu have started the collection of rainwater in response to water shortages.

“Water Butt” (Rainwater collection tank)

Traditionally, rainwater was harvested by excavating a hole, then lining the hole with water-proof tarpaulin. The wider the hole, the more water it could collect per hour.

When I was a child, I used to watch a great deal of water flow out of the rain gutter’s outlet. I now realize that the roof counts as a tremendously large rainwater collection area which can collect a great amount of water per hour as it all runs off into the gutter.

This water can be piped into a tank, and used to water the lawn during dry weather, or it can be passed through a whole-house filter and used to flush toilets.

“Before I set up the facility in my home, I would walk for about 10 kilometres to get to the well. Others used to walk longer distances so we decided to adopt rain water harvesting, for a sustainable solution,” Eneas Serugendo, a resident of Bihungwe cell, in Mudende Sector says, adding that rain water harvesting started after the government successfully embarked on a programme to eradicate thatched houses countrywide.

“When one was unable to fetch the water, they paid between Rwf200 and Rwf300 per jerrycan (of 20 litres) which was a lot. These facilities came in handy and the money that would have been used to buy water is saved,”.

According to Serugendo, the water collected during rainy season is used well into the dry seasons. Why can’t rainfall just be distributed evenly?

“Life has changed in terms of hygiene because we regularly bathe and wash our clothes which was rare before because of water scarcity,” he said.

Source: allAfrica