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Photo by Gran Hyatt Atalanta

Photo by Gran Hyatt Atalanta

Rainwater collection and recycling systems are a reality in a number of businesses and households across the world, but they do not have much of a presence in Spain. This sustainable initiative has emerged as a compelling and economic alternative for hotels who have implemented it, especially across the Atlantic.

That’s why Responsible Hotels wants to take this opportunity to draw attention to the successful implementation of the practice at the Grand Hyatt Atlanta in the United States.

The work of engineers is increasingly providing environmental service options for the hospitality industry. Recently, the specialised ‘green’ industry publication, “Green Lodging News” offered a clear example of this with the experience of the U.S.-based Grand Hyatt Atlanta Hotel, which devised a novel system for recycling water resources.

The hotel’s Environmental Director, Wes Shirley, noticed one stormy night that it was a real waste not to use all the rainwater falling on the roof. Soon after, he went to work by contacting a plumber and the hotel’s administrative director and called on the help of the Southern Polytechnic University.   Together, and with the help of some engineering students, they devised a formula to collect the excess rain water. 

While the previous system had the rain pouring down the drain into the sewer system of the city, the revised approach disconnected these channels and funneled the water directly from the roof, through filters and into a collection of tanks installed at the bottom of the hotel for reuse.

There are currently seven of these huge tanks varying in size from 2,500 to 5,000 gallons, or between 9,462 and 18,925 litres. To get an idea of how much they can get to store, a 15-minute rain shower produces about 4,000 gallons (15,140 litres).

Shirley remarked that while a few “parking spaces were sacrificed”, “they are happy because the system has worked very well.”

In many ways, the experiment has worked. The hotel does not spend on electricity because the new approach does not require a pumping system and saves substantial amounts of water. The filtered rainwater is used for the hotel’s cooling tower, which requires about 15,000 litres of water a day during the summer. Water for consumption is drawn directly from the city’s water utility.

An Economic Investment, Recovered 

In Atlanta, they are able to collect about 4 million litres a year from their rainwater collection system. Taking into consideration the cost of both the original effort and the price of water, Shirley estimates that they were able to recoup their investment in less than four years.

In addition to this benefit, the Grand Hyatt Atlanta collects water from its cooling tower, recycles its washing water and is in the process of installing a system to collect the condensate from the HVAC system and ice machine . Shirley added that they, “are currently investigating the possibility of recycling of grey water.”

Thus, responsible hotels have an incentive to using this tool to exploit the recycling of rainwater along with their contribution to saving this precious commodity.


 El blog de Responsible Hotels sobre la gestión ética y responsables de establecimientos hoteleros. Nos preocupa el medio ambiente y la biodiversidad. Nos encantan los viajes, investigar sobre sostenibilidad y los fines de semana largos. Leer más de este autor


Este artículo está también disponible en: Spanish

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