Decoding Design

A smarter looking way to collect rainwater

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A Philadelphia design firm offers rain collectors that are as friendly to the eyes as they are to the environment.

Consumers with the best intentions of reducing outdoor water waste by collecting rainwater are most commonly limited to buying large blue barrels or terra cotta cisterns.  For the ecologically minded yet style sensitive set, a rainwater collector designed by Philadelphia firm Shift_Design (Shift Space Design) offers a sleek alternative to the bulbous barrels normally used to collect rain from gutters and downspouts.

The Fitzwater rain collector is a lean, green 63 inches tall, 12 inches wide, and 24 inches deep.  The stainless steel collector has a capacity of 58 gallons but takes up a small footprint on precious outdoor space.

Simple in form and flexible in function, the Fitzwater was originally a custom piece for Montrose Green, a green renovation of a Philadelphia rowhouse currently pursuing LEED for Homes Platinum Certification.  The installation at Montrose Green connects directly to a garden which captures the rainwater for plant irrigation while reducing the rate of stormwater runoff.

Collecting rainwater from rooftops and downspouts for non-potable uses decreases the rate of and pollution from runoff.  Harvesting rainwater also encourages a more natural rate of groundwater infiltration and decreases discharge to public sewer systems.

Initially offered as a DIY kit, the Fitzwater and its smaller capacity sibling, the Wallace, are available online.

Image: Shift_Design

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Sun Kim

Contributing Editor

Contributing Editor Sun Joo Kim is an architect and creative consultant based in Boston. Her projects include design and master planning of museums, public institutions, hospitals, and university buildings across the U.S. She holds a degree from Carnegie Mellon University and is a member of the U.S. Green Building Council. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure