Water recycling technology set to flush away old habits

Posted: Tuesday 20th August 2013

Revolutionary new technology, launched this summer, is set to enable the UK to rethink its current dependence on using drinking quality water to flush toilets.

The unique Reaqua Systems’ technology, designed for use in residential, commercial and municipal properties, enables the collection of waste-water (so called ‘greywater’) from baths and showers, and in some cases sinks, and recycles it for use in flushing toilets. In an ingenious development to the product range, an optional feature can extract heat from the building’s greywater, before it’s recycled, so it can be fed back into the central heating system.

The reAqua and reAqua+ units both reduce water consumption by a third, while the latter (which has the optional heat recovery from the greywater) also enables a two-fold reduction in CO2emissions.

Suitable for retrofit as well as newbuild, the systems are designed to be easy to install and use. A revised plumbing setup takes all waste-water from baths and showers, redirecting it through a compact reAqua filtration unit where it is treated with a disinfectant. This treated water is collected in a tank and piped on, as required, to supply all the flushing water needs for multiple toilets.

Stephen Bates, CEO of Reaqua Systems, said: “As most buildings in the UK have only one water supply, we have, until now, had little option but to put up with the confused logic of using drinking quality water to flush our toilets. With increasing pressure on our water supply from droughts, our greywater reuse technology has the potential to make a big contribution to reducing water demand across the UK, as well as, in the case of the reAqua + unit, also reduce our energy consumption.”

The two unique products – developed, tested and perfected over several years – can be fitted across a wide range of building types. At the pre-launch stage, the products have already drawn the attention of housing associations, architects, commercial and residential builders as well as homeowners.

The products’ water saving potential has been of significant interest:

Stephen Bates continues: “Users start saving water from the moment the product is fitted, without any change in lifestyle. There’s no need to fit water rationing and flow restriction technology such as low-flush toilets or low-flow showers, which can often lead (as evidence has shown) to blocked waste pipes and a disappointing shower experience, respectively. It’s also important to remember that, unlike other water recycling concepts such as rainwater harvesting, where available water is used to augment the building’s tap water supply, reAqua’s greywater supply is predictable, consistent and not dependent on the weather.”

End users can also benefit from reduced water bills. Savings on metered water bills average between £200-£500 a year, with a typical payback time of 3-7 years. Fitting a reAqua+ system typically offers a projected lifetime saving of between £4,000 and £10,000 per unit.

With attention paid to current and future building legislation and sustainability profiling, the systems have also been designed with the needs of installers and specifiers in mind.

Besides making properties more attractive to customers by reducing running costs, a reAqua unit provides an obvious solution for improving a development’s rating under the Code for Sustainable Homes. The reAqua+ unit is SAP Appendix Q eligible whilst both systems can satisfy bespoke planning conditions and are also relevant to BREEAM. www.reaquasystems.com

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