A small Waterloo, Ontario-based company called RenewABILITY Energy Inc. has convinced Home Depot Canada to carry its drain heat-recovery systems for sale on its Web site. The company’s Power-Pipe technology is basically copper tubing that wraps around a residential drain pipe. Cold water is pumped through the tubing and captures the heat from drain water after it comes out taps, dishwashers, washing machines, etc…. The warmed up water from the tube is then sent to the residential hot water tank, which doesn’t have to burn as much natural gas or use as much electricity now because the water has been pre-heated by several degrees. It’s a simple system, sold in a variety of designs by a number of different companies, that should be required in every home. The company claims the system will pay for itself in two to five years, it can be used in new and old homes, and it can reduce home energy consumption by 5 to 10 per cent. Not bad when you consider the hot water portion only accounts for 20 to 30 per cent of total home energy use.
The Power-Pipe comes in three models — 36-inch, 48-inch and 60-inch long tube models ranging from $600 to $1,000 (Canadian) and including the cost of installation. Just type in “Power-Pipe” in the HomeDepot.ca search engine. “The typical 60-inch Power-Pipe unit can bring you cold water temperature up from 10 degrees C to as much as 24 degrees C,” the company says.
I’m not sure about U.S. or European availability and incentives, but in Canada customers who purchase the system can also qualify for up to $300 in federal and provincial incentives. It’s good to see Home Depot giving some profile to this simple approach to achieving energy efficiency in the home.