3 Ways to reduce a water feature designs carbon footprint
As environmental issues are becoming more and more dominant in this day and age. Water Scenes decided to research how water features and ponds can do their bit and become more Eco friendly.
We have evaluated water features and ponds to identify 3 areas where you can make a difference and in the long run save money.
2) Water ecosystems.
This impacts on environmental issues due to the materials used in the making of a feature. The worst offender being cement. The whole process of producing cement is littered with environmental issues, and can’t be recycled. There are environmentally friendly cements but given that they have not been tested on aquatic environments we would recommend that you stay clear.
As there is no other option at this time we recommend that you only use 5 parts sand to 1 part cement for vertical structures and 6 parts sand to 1 part cement for flat laying like paving making sure that you do not have an overhang of more than 10%. If you do not think this would work it is worth remembering this, most brick built houses are built using the 5:1 cement mix.
Stone and brick is used to create a large portion of features installed in the UK. Bricks are not totally as bad for the environment as you might think. This is due to the industry cleaning up its act and can now boast highly efficient kilns and uses clay which is a very sustainable material and often locally sourced. Also bricks can be recycled both by people and industry. Bricks can be cleaned and reused or ground down to be used again. Almost the same applies to natural stone for recycling but not all stone comes from a sustainable source and of course there is no production as such. When choosing a material we would recommend that you ask yourself two questions, “is this stone from a sustainable source and how far has it come?” It is worth thinking about using second hand stone and bricks as they can be much cheaper than new. Another plus point is pre used materials can give a more natural and desirable appearance.
Clay is also the most Eco friendly pond lining but unfortunately it is quite expensive and very hard to get right. The only viable option is liner. Rubber liners have the advantage that they are recyclable and cause the least amount damage in the production process in comparison to other processes.
Sourcing your product responsibly and locally can also make a difference.
2) Water Eco system.
As we all know ponds can support a large range of plants and creatures and although a producer of methane this is by far outweighed by more positive aspects. Ponds also rely on not being contaminated. The most common cause of this is over feeding and by far one of the most common cause of fish death in a domestic pond. As for water features the most efficient way to keep clean healthy water is to change the water (all for small features and half for large) every 2 to 4 weeks. You should always test your water to check for contaminants. UV filtration is also a must.
3) Equipment efficiency. Now here’s a way you can conserve energy and save money. There are now low energy pumps and UV equipment available that use a third of the amount of electricity and can turn over the amounts of water needed in today water features and ponds. It is worth remembering that when purchasing a pump you should always check what the products power consumption is as it can give a misleading price as a cheap pump for instance costs £30 but is 1000 watts. around the same as a kettle or iron or a 150watt similar to two household lights pump for £130 it may appear that the cheap pump is the best option but over the next 3 year lets say for the guarantee period of pump you will pay more than this in electricity. Lets not forget the positive effect that reduced energy use has on co/2 emissions too.
Although these are not total solutions to the environmental problems of the world and do leave room for improvement. They are however a good practise to incorporate into your pond project or new water feature until these improvements are made by science.
By Neil Murkitt