Ask Andy 
Q & A with veteran building material dealer/distributor 
Andy Pace of The Green Design Center.

Water: How to Control It and How to Capture It

Spring is in the air, and so come the questions about outdoor projects. This month, I'm going to tackle two questions about water: how to control it and how to capture it.

Q My home is in a wooded lot and I'm cleaning my gutters at least four times a year. I've seen many different gutter guards advertised in the last few years, but none of them seem to have any green attributes. Do you have any ideas?
Scott A., Kenosha, WI

A There are at least a dozen gutter guard systems on the market and only one of them has met our requirements for being called ‘green'. The RainTube® product from Rain Technologies is made from 100% post-consumer recycled plastic and is completely recyclable after its service life of 50 years. Although simple in design, it must be installed by a factory-trained contractor in order to be covered by the manufacturer's lifetime warranty. RainTube is produced in the Pacific Northwest and is Cradle to Cradle Gold certified. If you plan on capturing rainwater for outside uses, RainTube makes the perfect pre-filter for larger debris.

Finally, as a fellow Wisconsin homeowner, I can tell you first-hand that RainTube is excellent at minimizing some forms of ice damming. The tube is made with carbon-black pigment added, so the snow sits on top of the tube, only to be melted off when the sun comes out. If your gutters don't fill up with snow, they won't turn into solid blocks of ice.

Q Can you give us any recommendations for any large volume rainwater capture systems? We have a dozen rain barrels, but they don't collect nearly enough water for maintaining our yard in the dry summer months.
Becky and Steve S., Lincoln, NE

A The RainSpace™ Cistern system by Rain Technologies, consists of an EPDM liner that is filled with a recycled plastic tubing material called RainTube®. Starting at a 5000 gallon capacity, this extremely lightweight system does not require a crane to set, as you would have with the traditional tank product. As a result, most landscape contractors can install them in a couple days.

The RainSpace system is so versatile that it can be adapted to just about any size and shaped lot. The average roof will collect 1250 gallons of water per inch of rain, so spring rain will be available throughout the summer months. Do yourself a favor and have their RainTube gutter guards installed at the same time. This will provide the perfect pre-filtering of large debris so that your RainSpace system operates worry-free.

As always, I appreciate your questions, so please keep them coming!

To learn more about The Green Design Center, you can visit the company's website at And if you have any questions or suggestions for a future column, drop a note to Andy at

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