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Not an obvious link to alternative energy, but rainwater harvesting will become increasingly important as, more than likely, water authorities introduce mandatory water meters and stringent controls, particularly in dry summers.

The challenge with rainwater is how to control the water quality in storage over time and to use it to replace water supplies we currently take for granted. Like stale heat in heat recovery systems, rainwater may be used as a coolant in future systems, for example, but it can already replace water for flushing toilets, be used externally in watering plantation and this contributes towards certain Eco regulatory criteria such as BREEAM sustainable buildings, levels five and above. Although the balance between system and running costs against successfully 'harvesting' is still unconvincing, such fledgling ideas will become an important part of home innovation over the next decade and beyond.

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