Showers waste a lot more energy than most of us realize. Hot water actually uses up more energy than pretty much anything else in the house, and a large majority of that literally just goes down the drain. Engineer David Velan discovered a way to make use of this wasted energy.
Velan designed a device called the EcoDrain that uses the heat from the water and transfers it back to the clean water to reheat it again. The dirty water is separated with a double-wall and only the heat gets transferred, which helps to recover about 45% of the energy that would have been otherwise wasted.
"Recapturing heat from shower water is deceptively simple,” Velan said, adding that he wanted to ensure that the device was cost-effective, easy to install and long lasting.
"It is relatively easy to meet a couple of these criteria at a time, but difficult to hit them all," he said. "We have had to build hundreds of physical prototypes."
The EcoDrain's horizontal design makes it easy to install right next to a drain, where the water is the hottest. The device's designers boast that it can pay for itself in two years in saved electricity bills, and that it can last for up to 30 years.