Reducing the Energy and Money We Pour Down the Drain

Heating water accounts for 15% of the household energy we use – second to space heating (63%) (Source: EU).

Thanks to better insulation and ever stricter regulations on building energy consumption, space heating has been massively reduced over the past few decades. The same cannot be said of the requirements for hot water. 90% of our hot water usage is spent on showering, and as we shower each morning a lot of #energy , and money, literally goes down the plughole.

Joulia-Inline has developed a simple and cost-effective way of addressing this. This Swiss-based company has developed a system which uses a heat exchanger that connects the draining system with the cold-water pipes. Instead of used hot water shower going directly down the drain, it is recovered and its heat energy is reused to preheat incoming cold water. According to Joulia a 4-person household can reduce its energy consumption by 42%, therefore allowing you to reduce your energy bill while protecting the environment.

I discovered Joulia on the Sustainability Today website – a great resource for companies doing interesting things in sustainability. They are however not the only company innovating in this area – a Google search threw up other companies with solutions to re-use the energy in used hot water

Technology that re-uses energy is one approach – but there is of course another: cutting down our use of hot water, whether by having shorter showers, cold showers or not showering daily.

Robert H. Shmerling, MD suggests in a blog for Harvard Health Publishing that showering several times per week is plenty for most people, and might well be better for us than a daily shower. Cutting out even one daily shower a week would not only reduce our energy usage but would also save 30 to 80 litres of precious water.

As always researching this blog has got me thinking – hopefully reading it will have the same effect on you.

This is the eight in a year-long series of weekly blogs by Jean Callanan telling stories of businesses and brands that are doing inspiring and innovative things in addressing #climatechange . Read the background thinking and the stories of Knorr Future 50 FoodsAn PostGood on YouNotplaLow Carbon Materials and Wren Urban Nest Dublin