A Simulation of Rainwater Harvesting Design and Demand-Side Controls for Large Hospitals




Fulton, Lawrence V.

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Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute


Inpatient health buildings in the United States are the most intensive users of water among large commercial buildings. Large facilities (greater than 1 million square feet) consume an average of 90 million gallons per building per year. The distribution and treatment of water imposes a significant electrical power demand, which may be the single largest energy requirement for various states. Supply and demand-side solutions are needed, particularly in arid and semi-arid regions where water is scarce. This study uses continuous simulations based on 71 years of historical data to estimate how rainwater harvesting systems and demand-side interventions (e.g., low-flow devices, xeriscaping) would offset the demand for externally-provided water sources in a semi-arid region. Simulations from time series models are used to generate alternative rainfall models to account for potential non-stationarity and volatility. Results demonstrate that hospital external water consumption might be reduced by approximately 25% using conservative assumptions and depending on the design of experiment parameters associated with rainfall capture area, building size, holding tank specifications, and conservation efforts.



sustainability, rainwater, RWH, hospitals, Health Administration


Fulton, L. V. (2018). A simulation of rainwater harvesting design and demand-side controls for large hospitals. Sustainability, 10(5): 1659.


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