Rain Barrel Workshop in Exeter, NH

Exeter, NH – The New Hampshire Coastal Protection Partnership and ReVision Energy are teaming up to offer a low cost rain barrel workshop to seacoast residents on May 7th. Come “Make your own rain barrel” for just $50 and enjoy free water all spring and summer long! The fun kicks off at 10 AM at ReVision Energy’s new store on Commercial Drive in Exeter.

“We’re excited about partnering with NH Coast and about welcoming people to our new solar showroom,” says ReVision Energy branch manager Dan Clapp. “We love being able to offer a hands-on event where people can learn about water conservation, which, like solar, is a way to help the environment and reduce energy costs at the same time.”

A member of the Green Alliance, ReVision Energy has completed more than 2,500 solar installations in Maine and New Hampshire, including commercial solar hot water systems for apartment buildings, restaurants, inns, and fitness centers. Water heating can account for 14%-25% of home energy consumption, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Solar hot water systems capture the power of the sun and use it to heat water, reducing household reliance on fossil fuels.

“Nationwide, about 4% of U.S. power generation is used for water supply and treatment,” notes Dave Anderson, Project Coordinator for NH Coast. That’s where rain barrels come in.

“Rain barrels are a zero energy source of free non-potable water,” Anderson explains. “I use my rain barrel to do everything from watering the garden to filling a bucket to wash windows.”

Lawns and gardens can soak up around 40% water used by a household during the summer months, creating a real strain on municipal water supplies. Rain barrels provide an eco-friendly alternative to water drawn from local reservoirs. The green benefits don’t stop there.

“Installing a rain barrel is one way to take a slice out of your stormwater footprint, especially if set up the overflow outlet to drain into a dry well or rain garden” Anderson explains. Stormwater runoff can quickly transform into runoff pollution, carrying everything from leaked motor oil to nitrogen from dog poop into local waterways like the Exeter River – a major tributary to the Great Bay Estuary.

NH Coast launched its popular Rain Barrel Program last year with the help of a small grant from the Lamprey River Advisory Committee. Anderson visited local farmers’ markets in Newmarket and Nottingham, giving away free rain barrels and teaching market goers how to build their own at home. NH Coast staff and volunteers make each rain barrel by hand from a recycled food grade plastic drum.

The program has proved to be a big hit. “We’ve received a ton of support from local businesses this year,” Anderson is happy to report. Altus Energy, D.F. Richard Energy, Greenovations, and  Ecomovement Hauling and Consulting sponsored the local nonprofit’s latest round of free rain barrel giveaways at the Seacoast Home and Garden Show in Durham last month. A $1,000 grant from the New England Grassroots Environmental Fund will also ensure that the program gets off to a great start in 2011.

In addition to hosting the May 7th workshop, ReVision Energy is sponsoring the event. The first ten participants who sign up for the workshop online will go home with a free rain barrel. To RSVP, visit http://rainbarrelnh.eventbrite.com or call Dave at (603) 617-0679.

NH Coast board member Joe Persechino builds a rain barrel at the Newmarket Farmers' Market.

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