The RainHarvest School

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Our description of what we do during our 2-day Design-Build class – 12-unit U.S.G.B.C. CEU credit

The Rainharvest School, founded in La Grange, Texas is a unique learning facility offering “Design-Build” classes throughout the year for those who want hands-on, practical experience designing, building and pricing both “dry” and “wet” rainharvest systems. The focus is on practicing building these systems so that you can go home, build your own system and save hundreds if not thousands of dollars.

We limit each class to a maximum of eight (8) students, a minimum of four (4). Classes larger than our maximum limit the attention staff can give to individual students; classes smaller than four limit practicing the team project on Sunday.

Current Dates and city of 2015 Classes:

  • February 21 – 22 : La Grange, Texas – (FULL)
  • March 21 – 22 : College Station, Texas
  • April 25 – 26 : La Grange, Texas
  • May – 23 – 24 : College Station, Texas
  • June 27 -28 : La Grange, Texas
  • October 24 -25 : La Grange, Texas

 Register today and secure your spot.

Class begins Saturday morning at 8:30 a.m. (Registration) and ends between 4 and 5 p.m. We start at 9 a.m. Sunday morning and normally conclude between 3:30 and 4:30 p.m.

The only “lecture” time spent during our class is on Saturday morning immediately following check-in when we have a short (usually 15-20  minutes) orientation and distribute our  “RWH Design-Build Guide” – a step-by-step guide (in words, pictures and numbers) to designing, building and pricing rainharvesting systems.

Our unique Guide includes:

Forecasting RWH Supply/Demand 

Cistern Price Comparisons  

Siting Your Cistern   

The Building

Site Plan for RWH system (“wet, dry”)

  • Step 1: Building a cistern pad   
  • Step 2. Building a “wet” system
  • Step 3: First flush diverter assembly
  • Step 4: Siting and Connecting FFD to Cistern
  • Step 5: Bulkhead installation   
  • Step 6. Wet system drain installation 
  • Step 7: Cistern overflow installation
  • Step 8. Cistern water level installation
  • Step 9: Pump installation
  • Step 10: Turn it on!

 Important Do’s & Don’ts 

Water Testing Your System      

RWH Component Suppliers  

Student Gift Certificate     

Historical Rainfall Data (Fayette County, Texas)  

RWH System Materials Prices (Mid-Year, 2012)  

Building a “dry” system

Lab Testing Rainwater Quality


Virtually all your class time is spent working with tools, assembling components and building RWH systems.

During the class you will be using shovels, tampers, levels, hammers, power tools, PVC (and more) to build a cistern pad, cut and install PVC and drains, assemble a first flush diverter, build a pump pad and install a pump. You’ll water test your system and turn on a pump to see it works.

We work very hard to make our instruction simple, easy to understand and easy to do. We don’t use much “lingo” and there’s no question we are not willing to  answer.

You and your classmates will work together Sunday afternoon on our unique “Design, Price and Pitch” problem. During this part of our class you will meet a typical “Customer” who will ask you and your classmates to design a RWH system for them. You will design the system with your classmates, price the system (wholesale and retail) and choose a class member to “sell” your design to your customer.

By Sunday evening you will have practiced and priced (wholesale and retail) systems in “classroom” and “real-world” situations. You have “pitched” a “client” and you know something about rainwater chemistry and quality.

Our aim is that you will have the confidence, knowledge and skills to build your own system when you say “Goodbye” Sunday afternoon.  Your  final “grade” comes after you’ve built your own system and invited us  for a “white glove” inspection! We look forward to your call one day.

Several students have offered to discuss the class with seriously interested prospects. Their email addresses are as follow:

George Hemingway (kmhemingway@kingwoodcable.net),

Brian Burke (gaelbrian@hotmail.com)

Pat Faubion (conroevet@hotmail.com)


You might like to bring the following to class both days:

  • Pencil(s) to take notes
  • Small, simple hand-held calculator
  • Inexpensive pair of rubberized work gloves
  • Hat/cap for sun protection
  • Camera

We serve lunch (“family style”) Saturday and Sunday from noon to 1 p.m.

(*) The Guide, provided at no additional charge to class members, can be purchased by non-students for  $225 + postage and ordered by calling Scott O. Shaffer (979-250-1239) or emailing (s.o.shaffer@gmail.com). Purchasers of the Guide who have not taken the class receive a $175 tuition credit upon enrollment within one year of purchasing the Guide.

We are proud to be able to offer this 12-unit U.S.G.B.C. CEU credit with completion of our RHS Design-Build class.



TUITION: (if paying via credit card can be invoiced or check can be mailed for deposit/class)


$225 and includes:

  • Reduced motel rates as RHS student at River Valley Motor Inn when attending La Grange Class
  • 60-page step-by-step illustrated Rainharvest Guide
  • Qualifies for 12 hours of CEU credit by U.S. Green Building Council
  • Home-style lunch Saturday and Sunday
  • Free parking


  • Save $100’s – $1,000’s when you build your own system
  • Become more informed rainharvesting system designer, builder or buyer
  • Take advantage of “Alumni Prices” on major rainharvest system components
  • Sign-up for periodic email updates on latest rainharvesting news
  • Receive free design-build consultation as RHS alumni

The Rainharvest School
Design – Build Class Solutions & “Do-It-Yourself” Savings*

Cistern Cistern Cistern Student’s “Retail Student’s
Supplier Material Size D-I-Y Price Price” D-I-Y Savings
Tanks for Less Plastic 8,000 gal. $5,250 $9,000 $3,750
Pioneer Steel 10,000 gal $7,000 $14,000 $7,000
Corgal Steel 5,200 gal. $9,557 $16,445 $6,888


*Source: Texas Water Savers Co. (2012) and RHS students attending class during 2012


6 thoughts on “The RainHarvest School

  1. Pingback: Summit Smithville Green Expo – 2015 | 365 Things to do in Bastrop, TX

  2. Pingback: Summit Smithville Green Expo – 2015 | 365 Things to do in Bastrop, TX

  3. What is your 2016 class schedule?


  4. I would like to register for the October 15 and 16 class. Please let me know via e-mail. Thanks.


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