Gallery: Rain Barrel Art Raises Water Awareness in Chicago


A collection of artfully-decorated rain barrels landed at the Chicago Center for Green Technology after traveling to different eco events around the city last year. Named Recycle the Raindrops, the exhibit aims to raise awareness about how collecting rain water can relieve stress on water treatment facilities, reduce water consumption, and help to control flooding. Local artists created scenes on their barrels that showcase the benefits of re-using rainwater, touching on topics ranging from global issues with water access to adequate sanitation.

With just 100sq ft of roof area, 60 gallons of water can be collected per inch of rain fall. This can amount to incredible savings for the planet (and your water bill) when rainfall is used to water the garden, feed your indoor potted plants, or even to wash the dog.

The site of the Recycle the Raindrops exhibit is the prefect venue for showing off the uses of rain barrel-collected water. The Chicago Center for Green Technology is a government-run building that was renovated in 1999 to achieve LEED Platinum certification — as such, it is an incredible showcase for energy efficiency and conservation practices. The painted rain barrels can be seen through the property, interspersed with a field of solar panels, on the deck of a UIC Urbana-Champaign Solar Decathlon House, inside the resource center for green building materials, and around the prairie of deep-rooting native plants that help to manage ground water.

+ Recycle the Raindrops

+ Chicago Center for Green Technology


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  1. Lea Bogdan October 1, 2010 at 11:59 am

    These resources are great! Thanks everyone. Unfortunately, I’m not sure of the specs on barrels used in the exhibition. What is cool though, is that the City of Chicago is offering rebates on any rain barrel purchased in 2010. They provide a list of retailers and more information on the government site

  2. Alice59 September 9, 2010 at 1:25 pm

    There is another company called EarthMinded that makes rain barrels and one of their product is 100% recycled while others are 30% recycled. They have very \’user-friendly\’ rain barrels, which solves a lot of the problems that people have with rain barrels in general, like the lid locks and keeps mosquitoes out, it comes with a spigot and drain, the diverter fits perfectly in the downspout and allows excess water to pass through and they also provide a winter cover that covers the hole in downspout so it doesn\’t look ugly. I would highly recommend them. Their authorized resellers sell the same products much cheaper so I would check out the resellers which are listed on the EarthMinded website (

  3. rainwatergeek September 3, 2010 at 4:54 pm

    There are several rain barrels out there that are 100% recycled and are made in the USA that were designed to be a rain barrel not repurposed food containers. Have a look at the Moby:
    The good thing is that people are finding ways to conserve.

  4. gardengurl August 24, 2010 at 4:13 pm

    What beautiful works of art. It’s too bad the overall design lacks functionality. the overflow port is undersized for most rain storms and barrel will overflow and may damage the artwork. A better design would be to increase the overflow port and have the www.

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