New Atlanta Mall Uses Rain for Irrigation

The Sweet Apple Village open-air mall in Roswell, GA has $400,000 of landscaping in its construction plans. There is one problem. Georgia is in the midst of a historical drought. Between the lack of rain and state-wide water restrictions, developer Robb McKerrow of Cornerstone Development Partners, LLC, had to make sure that the nearly a half million dollars of foliage will survive. To remedy this, McKerrow built a 60,000 gallon cistern and gray water filtration system before the foundation of the $21 million project was poured.

Besides the 60,000 gallon cistern, Sweet Apple’s water collection system features two water retention areas. Before the reclaimed water is used to irrigate the mall’s landscaping, it will be cleaned by large water filtration system.

Sweet Apple’s cistern will be filled by water that is collected by the 71,000 square foot roof. The rainwater collected by the roof will be carried to the filtration system by a series of gutters and piping. After the water has been cleaned, it will be stored in the cistern until it is used in the irrigation system. McKerrow says that just 1 inch of rain will yield enough water to fulfill a week’s worth of landscape irrigation needs.

McKerrow estimates that using rainwater for landscape irrigation will save Sweet Apple Village approximately $80,000 per year on water. In addition to the money savings that this system provides, it will reduce Sweet Apple Village’s demand on the municipal water supply by about 2.2 million gallons a year. With a total cost of $160,000, this rainwater collection system is going to pay itself off in only two years and help the entire City of Roswell for years to come. Sweet Apple Village is expected to be open in May of 2009 and is located at the corner of Hardscrabble and Etris Roads.

Environmental advocacy groups like Southface and The Sierra Club are praising Cornerstone and other developers that are using sustainable solutions in their projects. It is encouraging seeing that builders in Atlanta are recognizing that we have a water shortage and taking environmentally responsible steps to help.


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