Waste not, want not: water heat recovery is coming...

Despite being widely used in Canada for many years waste water heat recovery has yet to take off in the UK. Ashley Prescott, UK agent for Power-Pipe, outlines the benefits of this simple technology.

Solar panels top the A-list celebrities of green building. They are normally the headline acts for most major energy events and often populate the pages of industry magazines.

Waste Water Heat Recovery (WWHR) is the less famous, modest younger brother or sister. It still does great things but doesn’t get half the same recognition or rewards.

This relatively “new technology” first started appearing in UK homes around 2008, despite being widely used in Canada and certain parts of Europe for the last fifteen years.

The beauty of this technology is its simplicity. It works by recovering the heat from outgoing waste hot water and uses it to pre-heat incoming mains fresh water. This helps to save energy, reduce carbon emissions and keep heating bills down.

WWHR is most widely used in residential applications where the unit is connected to the shower and the house’s water heater. It is often simply known as a Shower Heat Recovery System.

Ninety per cent of heat from the shower is lost down the drain but the good news is that the vast majority of it is recoverable. Installing a WWHR allows you to reclaim up to seventy percent of this heat, increasing the amount of available hot water in a property while reducing the load on its water heating system.

Waste water goes down the vertical section of the copper pipe and surface tension causes the water to be attracted to the inner surface of the pipe. As the cold water coming into the house travels up the outer coil of the pipe, the heat energy from the film is efficiently transferred on to it which heats the water. This pre-heated water then goes to the cold side of the shower mixer and the water heater.

WWHR is ideal for residential application as it increases the energy performance of a new home as well as helps developers save money on building costs.

The technology itself is the most cost effective way of increasing a home’s SAP score and recommended by the National House Building Council (NHBC) as one of the methods that can be used to pass Building Regulations Part L 2014, as well as Scottish Section 6 (energy).

To read the full article see the latest June edition of EiBI by registering for free here.

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