There are lots of devices out there at present to make one’s life more energy-efficient. The problem that most of them face is that few of them are cost-effective when we’re paying so little for reliable ever-present energy.
But if – when – energy prices skyrocket, and/or if/when energy becomes scarce and unreliable, all these devices will come into their own and become valuable and essential. Needless to say, as we prepare for ‘discontinuities’ in society, one of the biggest discontinuities we have to consider is an interruption to our energy supplies, and so it behooves us to consider all such energy-saving devices, not so much for their present benefit today, as for their future benefit, subsequent to TEOTWAWKI.
Here’s an interesting article that profiles three similar but different approaches to recycling some of the heat from your shower’s waste water. The concepts are immediately and intuitively sensible, and the savings apparently quite substantial – reducing the energy cost of the hot water used in the shower by up to 60%. Depending on how often you shower and how many gallons of water you use each time, this can reduce your daily energy consumption by 4 – 6 kWh a day. That might not sound like a lot, but when you consider that the average household uses 30 kWh each day, and your retreat will definitely use much less, this becomes a significant reduction in your total daily needs.
While water heating may not be a fully mission-critical part of your retreat’s energy planning (we are assuming you’ll fit a solar water heater to supplement any other water heating strategies you have) there’s no harm and potentially some benefit in recycling every possible watt-hour of energy you possibly can, and these three approaches all seem reasonably low-tech and low-maintenance and sensible.
Whether you buy the equipment from one of the three companies, or simply create your own similar system, it is definitely something to consider.
In case the linked article should disappear, here are direct links to the three companies and their products :
Heatback : http://www.heatback.co.nz/home
CINTEP : http://www.recyclingshower.com.au/
Recoh-vert : http://www.recohvert.com.au/
All three companies come from NZ or Australia, probably because the magazine is published in Australia.