Local News

Raleigh business owner invests big bucks to save water

Posted February 29, 2008 4:36 p.m. EST
Updated November 20, 2008 1:57 p.m. EST

— How far would you go to conserve water and keep a green lawn at the same time?

One Raleigh home and business owner knew his answer to that question: Spend tens of thousands of dollars, and dig a big canyon.

Charles Winston said he came up with idea of a water harvesting system while pondering ways to keep irrigating at his restaurant, Winston's Grille.

He wanted to keep watering his grass and flowers despite water-use restrictions, Winston said.

"We just felt like with water conservation being an important part of what's going on we would try to do our part," he said.

Sustainable Building Solutions dug a small canyon in Winston's yard to install a well and 26,000-gallon tank that will collect and reuse rainwater.

"The 26,000 gallons in his yard will give him two to three weeks of water," Bobby Ferrel, with Sustainable Building Solutions, said. "And then what the plan is, we're taking his irrigation system completely off city water."

At Winston's Grille, a 20,000-gallon, above-ground tank will collect rainwater and condensation from the air conditioning unit.

"We started talking about our roof, which collects 8,000 gallons," Winston said. "We've been up there in a rainstorm, and it's like a flood coming off the roof."

Similar water-harvesting systems run between $50,000 and $70,000. Despite the high price tag, Winston said that with water running so low, deciding to buy his own system did not take much figuring.

"It is a big investment, but it's kind of one of those things where my whole life, I've been one of those jump first, then figure it out later," Winston said.

Sustainable Building Solutions also sells smaller systems, including a 350-gallon rain barrel, that start around $800.