Sustainable SuDS from design, installation, performance to recycling
We aren’t shy to say that sustainable construction and green building design are the key motivators and drive behind our brand, team and our newly developed Hydrorock Natural Aquifer SuDS system. In fact, we are proud to say it.
Below we will take you on a journey of how Hydrorock is manufactured, installed, how during its life the system optimises soil conditions and repairs the natural water cycle, filters pollutants and lastly what happens to Hydrorock after its whole life assessment. Enjoy the ride!
Step 1 - Manufacturing
Hydrorock starts its life by heating 100% basalt rock until it is molten, which is then spun into highly absorbent mineral wool. This process forms a unique natural Aquifer material, which is natural and recyclable, and is highly effective in water management.
In comparison with a lot of alternative SuDS system which use a lot of plastic crates, Hydrorock uses no plastics in its manufacturing process. Even the labels on the Aquifer blocks are biodegradable!
Step 2 - Installation
The installation of Hydrorock doesn’t require large machinery or a large amount of time, nor does it cause major disruption. At this stage, the use of plastics is minimal, only for the tubing or grills as required.
Step 3 - The natural water cycle
It gets better. Inline with the SuDS triangle, the Hydrorock Aquifer SuDS system treats water as a precious resource. It replicates the natural water cycle, using the mineral wool to soak up water like a sponge, hold water like a reservoir and release water like a watering can.
Hydrorock also ensures optimal soil water balance to prevent supersaturation, drought and benefit the surrounding plants and wildlife. Water is retained within the capillaries of the Hydrorock Aquifer Block or moved in and out through them by water pressure differential between inside the block and the surrounding soil. When the water pressure is equal between the Hydrorock Aquifer Block and the soil, water is retained within the block. As the moisture level of the soil drops as it dries, so does the water pressure and water is released from the Hydrorock Aquifer Block into the soil. If the water pressure of the soil is greater due to higher soil moisture level, water enters the Hydrorock Aquifer Block. Clever huh?
Step 4 - The natural filter
Not only does Hydrorock perform effectively as a water management system, Hydrorock manages to effectively filter out toxins and pollutants.
Using the natural ability of the Hydrorock mineral wool to filter road runoff, pollutants are greatly reduced from entering soil and water courses, making it the best choice for environmentally friendly natural SuDS systems. Such pollutants include dissolved chemical contaminants such as Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) from car exhausts, heavy metals such as zinc and copper and solid particulate matter produced by abrasion of moving parts such as brakes, clutches and tyres. Read more about this in a recent study by Wageningen University & Research.
Without this filtering, polluted surface runoff will continue to enter the soil, ultimately affecting the ecosystem and possibly ending up in our drinking water and food.
Step 5 - End of life
If you thought it couldn’t get better, think again! Hydrorock has a whole life assessment, meaning it is a sustainable and cost-effective water management system that can absorb pollution for decades to come, without having to be continually replaced and require maintenance. However, the sustainable journey of Hydrorock does not end during its ‘active’ life.
After Hydrorock’s whole life assessment, the used system can be returned to the UK Rockwool facility, where it is then recycled into Rockwool insulation material.
Hydrorock is a unique Aquifer SuDS which continues to be green beyond its lifetime.
We hope that this little journey has given you an overview of how Hydrorock is completely unique in how it is manufactured, installed and performs differently to alternative SuDS. We hope that our introduction of a greener, cheaper and more effective SuDS into the built environment will make people question why they are using systems which continue to have a negative impact on our planet.
If you have any questions regarding the sustainability of Hydrorock or project related questions, just contact our expert team below.