A hot shower is relaxing, but is also a huge waste of energy: we heat our water with massive amounts of natural gas, oil or electricity, then transport the heated water to our tubs for a few seconds of sudsing, before washing it down the drain full of raw, wasted heat and energy! What if we could recapture this untapped source of wasted energy by transferring the heat from that shower waste-water to cold incoming water? The EcoDrain, a simple heat exchange unit, does just that, saving water heater use by up to 40%.
Showering is “likely your most energy-intensive daily household activity. Although hidden on your energy bill, heating water for showers represents a significant portion of the total.” The EcoDrain is a simple heat exchange unit with no moving parts that is “easy to install” and needs no maintenance.
We were lucky enough to see a preview of this new technology at last year’s West Coast Green where Marc Hoffman, EcoDrain chief product designer, presented the concept to a panel of VCs and Green Industry experts. The devices simple, stainless steel profile belies it’s considerable innovation. The heat exchange unit features a “double wall of separation between fresh and waste water…plus an interior non-stick coating to prevent soap, hair or debris collecting inside.”
“Hot waste fluids represent a massive and often untapped source of clean energy,” say the EcoDrain folks, and we couldn’t agree more. But building code hurdles seem to be slowing the pace of getting the EcoDrain out to the public. As of this writing, EcoDrain says, “We are committed to getting the EcoDrain approved in your area. Please contact us if you require code approval in your area.” They go on to say that “The EcoDrain is a new product. It saves energy in homes and so is very relevant for the LEED for homes program. We are working to see how the EcoDrain will fit into this program. Please contact us for more information.” As for us, we wish them the best of luck and hope to see these installed everywhere in the near future.