A non-partisan, neutral perspective supporting diversity in the color of water

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Greywater - Energy Nexus

Much has been written about the connection between energy development and water use. WaterWired has done an admirable job apprising the water world of the connection. Few think of greywater as a source of energy, but check out this American-designed and manufactured energy recovery system where Bob Gagnon Plumbing and Heating boasts apparently recovering "...about 1/3 of the heat from my shower water before it goes to the sewer using my Grey Water Tank".

Here is how Bob describes the system on Heating Help:

It's piped like this except that the incoming cold also goes through 200" of 1" pex attached to the outside of the tank. In the winter the incoming cold water is 36 degrees, it flows through the pex wrapped around the tank and picks up about 10 to 15 degrees, it when flows through a submersed coil where 105 degree water from my shower pours over the submersed coil and the cold water is pre heated another 10 to 15 degrees to about 66 degrees or one third of the temp rise needed for domestic hot water. The incoming cold water is heated to about 60 degrees when the shower is not running. It may not sound like much , but sending 66 degree water to my solar tank is a whole lot better than sending 36 degree water to it during the winter with the shorter, weaker sun.

Finally, not all of the clever greywater reuse ideas come from the Australians!

For those in the category of the *angry public* in Oregon, consider that the energy recovery from your greywater system may qualify for an energy tax credit. Check out the Oregon Department of Energy, under Wastewater Heat Recovery Systems. Depending on the *system* recovery, one might qualify for a tax credit ranging from $80 to $135. And if one carefully reads the Tax Credit Eligibility Criteria for Residential Energy Devices, specifically the definition of  “Net Cost” -- The applicant’s cost for the design, acquisition, construction, installation, permitting and inspection of an AED. Net cost may include the value of federal tax credits or utility incentives. Net cost does not include service contracts, rebates, or refunds. See 330-070-0013(46) to learn more.

So, the $50 annual fee that the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality proposes for graywater reuse may actually be eligible for a tax credit! Disclaimer (fine print): the Rainbow Water Coalition is not qualified to be a tax advisor or to provide legal advice on the interpretation of Oregon's tax laws, so please contact your tax advisor and lawyer for more information and tax advice.

Don't be angry about the $50 annual permit fee, be happy because it might be subsidized! Now one can enjoy a very good quality bottle of Oregon Pinot Noir with their greywater reuse *savings*. And instead of recycling the bottle, stick a candle in the top to claim even more energy savings.

1 comment:

  1. The Grey Water Storage tank system is a great idea and should be used much more frequently and energetically than it is currently. Think of all that water used for laundry, cleaning teeth, taking a bath or shower and washing the dishes and it’s wasted as a commodity. In the UK we don’t have these systems in place, it’s more effective to save water then reusing it, but you can get a plumber in to install a system if you really are interested. 

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