As our buildings have got more thermally efficient, the cost of heating them has fallen; but if your house is anything like mine, the cost of hot water – mainly showers – has remained the same and try as I might, my family still insist on having hot showers!
Gas and Oil Boiler technology has really reached the limits of their efficiency some time ago – we’ll get onto Heat Pumps in a minute – so for most people the relative cost of hot water generation has been climbing and in some houses we see this as over 50% of energy costs now.
Showersave is a really simple Waste Water Heat Recovery [WWHR] technology that uses a heat exchanger to recover about 70% of the energy from your shower that would ordinarily go down the plug hole. It has all the regulation required and does not require any measurement or maintenance or special plumbing skills to install. We often see the technology being included for new builds – both private and Housebuilder – as this is the best time to install it at low marginal costs but these days, we are increasingly seeing it installed when people or landlords are refurbishing boilers and bathrooms.
Reference Heat Pumps – the technology works really well with both Air and Water heat pumps as high temperatures are the Achilles heel of these pumps and Waste Water Heat Recovery greatly mitigates this. We recently trialled the technology with a University to get an independent review and the results were tremendous. It also works well with Electric Showers.
The technology does not work with a bath, unfortunately, and ideally for showers on the first floor. One Showersave can serve up to two showers. We have a solution for apartments and ground floors but these tend to be a little more expensive. Generally, installers can pick up the product for around £500, so return on investment these days is very competitive, even more so in Autumn when energy prices go up again.
The technology can be used for commercial applications – including hotels, leisure centres etc – where the heat exchangers are racked and stacked to cope with the hot water volumes.
Our challenge as company to date has really been the fact that very few people know about the technology. Because you can’t see the product, we have a “0” eco-bling count. Its more developed in Holland as regulation there is very favourable, and from June this year, UK regulation has changed to be much more supportive of this technology for new builds, so traction is happening. About 100,000 units are installed across the Europe, which includes the UK.
So that’s it really – a very simple technology that can save half your hot water costs, keeps your daughter happy and it great for the environment. It’s just you will never know it’s there!
About the author
Rob Misselbrook is a Director of BPD Ltd, the company that distributes Showersave to the UK and Irish markets. Rob has spent over 15 years in the early stage development of eco-commercial companies after a short City career.