Blooms Garden Centre – grey water recycling case study
In 2005, Hampshire architects HPW worked with Blooms on designs for a £5m Garden Centre off the M5 in Haresfield, Gloucestershire.
Within the plans for the seven-acre site, HPW included a comprehensive water management and flood alleviation system featuring grey water recycling, rainwater harvesting, full SUDS (Sustainable Urban Drainage System) and flood risk management.
Because of the high quantity of water Blooms requires on a daily basis just to water its plants, it was essential to provide a scheme that would reduce the cost of doing this as much as possible. In addition to harvesting rainwater from the roofs of the 58,000sqft building, grey water recycling systems were installed to prevent any water being unnecessarily wasted.
With approximately 5,000 to 10,000 visitors every week using the Centre’s toilets and restaurant, Blooms has the ability to collect great quantities of water from wash basins and staff showers as well as any run-off from the watering process itself.
This grey water is then treated and along with rainwater pumped back into the Garden Centre water storage system for watering the plants and flushing toilets.
In the six years since it opened, creative director for HPW, Gary Wilburn predicts that tens of thousands of gallons of water have been re-used at Blooms, reducing the company’s water bill by approximately 50%.
“It’s a win-win situation – the one-off payment of having the system installed has drastically cut Blooms’ utility bill for the lifetime of the building,” said Gary.
“From an environmental perspective however, corporate responsibility for water management extends far beyond just the business’ water usage to its obligation to minimise its impact on the wider environment.”
The £150,000 water management and flood prevention scheme at Blooms included a Sustainable Urban Drainage System (SUDS) to reduce the risk to the Garden Centre. The investment more than paid for itself when in 2007, Gloucestershire endured its worst flooding on record. Much of the county was under water and even the M5 next to Blooms had been flooded, but the Garden Centre itself avoided the crisis thanks to the canal and catchment lagoon that HPW had had installed along the side of the building as part of these measures.
“What this saved Blooms in terms of potential damage costs and lost revenue is incredible and highlights the benefit of having a water management programme that works with the natural environment,” concluded Gary.