Another tool for minimising water waste

The majority of houses waste a great deal of water each day when people run taps waiting for them to run hot – for example in the kitchen, bathroom sink and shower. Some claim up to 10 percent or more of household water is wasted while you wait for the shower or taps to run hot.

If we look at the average water use in a Melbourne household, with an average of 200 litres per day per person during water restrictions, and an average Melbourne household having two to three people…. the water wasted waiting for taps to run hot could be 40 or 60 litres a day.

A three person Melbourne household wasting 60 litres per day this way is 22,000 litres per year.
Water usage + sewage disposal = $1.0248 / kl + $1.3392 / kl = $2.364 / kl * 22 kL = $52 per year down the drain. Also, the price of water is set to double over the next few years.

If 60 m² of your yard was gardens for growing fruit and vegetables, it would only require about 33,000 litres per year. This isn’t even taking into account grey water capture (bathroom and washing machine water) which could be 89,000 litres p.a. and/or rainwater harvesting off your roof.

Another important fact point is the greenhouse gas emissions associated with water use in Melbourne. The delivery of potable water in Melbourne means the equivalent of 0.173 tonnes of CO2 is emitted per mega litre (1 million litres). Wastewater in Melbourne is associated with the equivalent of 0.875 tonnes of CO2 emitted per megalitre.

Water wasted by running taps until they run hot is both potable and now wastewater, so the combined CO2 emissions associated with it is about 1 kg CO2 emitted per 1000 litres – all for water that was not used – the emissions were for nothing. If we look at a Melbourne household with three people, wasting 22,000 litres per year, we find that 22 kg of carbon dioxide (or if you prefer, 440 black balloons) is emitted per household each year just running taps to hot.

EcoVerta is a plumbing device that allows you to divert this cold water that usually goes down the drain to another use.

EcoVerta

The product diverts the water at full mains pressure, using the power of the flowing water only to do this (rather than an external power source).

The manufacturers have a little demo of how this works here.

EcoVerta comes in three models: EcoVerta, EcoVerta Mixa, and EcoVerta Protecta.

The products are compatible with any hot water heater including instantaneous types.

The base model ‘EcoVerta‘ sells for around $365. It is small enough to be installed under a kitchen sink or bathroom vanity. It basically looks like a box with one pipe going into it and two others going out. The hot water supply pipe goes in, and coming out are the hot water to tap ware (where the water only comes out hot) and the other line is the recovered cold water.

This recovered cold water can be plumbed to a raised storage tank, a sprinkler, drip watering, pool (including pool heating systems) or pets. If plumbed to a storage tank, this water can be used for toilet, laundry, hand watering or drip watering systems. In rural areas the saved water can be redirected to a storage tank and with a pressure pump and water purification device, reused in the home cold water supply.

EcoVerta Mixa is the next up in the range, and sells for about $560. It is required where dual tap mixer sets are fitted. A unit can service mixer tap sets for shower, bath and hand basin. The unit can also work with dishwasher hot water supply if required. This unit is larger and typically needs to be installed in a ceiling or under the floor.

EcoVerta Protecta is the top of the range model and sells for about $730. It can be used with all tapware and encapsulates tempering valve (scalding protection) with maximum temperature of 44° water delivered as well as flow management in houses and building where other users draw water simultaneously. It is said to be suited to commercial applications.

EcoVerta products are produced by Advanced Eco Technologies Pty Ltd who are based on the Nepean Hwy, Mornington and the products are fully Australian designed and made.

These products are quite expensive, even though the base model is less expensive than competitor products like the Chili Pepper system (retails for around $470) which has a pump which enables you to recycle the water back into your cold supply (at mains pressure). If you are after a system that puts the water straight back into the cold line, check out the Chili Pepper.

Chili Pepper

Of course, there is always the less expensive option (no plumber required to install): the 9 litre bucket!

References:

2 Comments so far

  1. neil on November 11th, 2008 @ 5:51 pm

    Great product but the breakeven point is 7~ years (not including installation). For me, according to the stats provided I think I will be looking at close to 20 years before I can retain my money. It would be a good government initiative to offer these to new houses.

    Can’t say this about most things but water is too damn cheap. Should be some sort of sliding scale. Less water reserves, higher the prices and vice versa.


  2. maree on November 11th, 2008 @ 6:13 pm

    Well if it has to be all about the money…

    If you have another use for this water that normally goes down the drain – such as growing your own fruit and vegetables – you will soon reap (pun intended) the benefits of such water saving products.

    Some water suppliers have a scale where you pay higher prices for water once you go over 440, and then 880 litres in a household (I think they are the figures).

    Water doubling in price before 2012 has been widely written about so payback is unlikely to be that long at all for most users.



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