Ontario has become the first province or state in North America to recognize drain-water heat recovery (DWHR) as part of its building energy code. Provincial builders will now be able to use DWHR to meet energy-savings requirements in the Ontario building code, and the change also should prove a boost for manufacturers.
Drain-water heat recovery is a way of extracting heat from hot water that’s dumped down a drain — from a shower, for example. The units, which cost an average of $600 to $800, according to one Canadian manufacturer, consist of a copper heat exchanger that replaces part of a conventional drain line. Copper tubing wrapped around the outside of the pipe carries incoming water and allows it to pick up the heat of the drain water that’s exiting the house.
According to RenewABILITY Energy Inc., manufacturer of the Power-Pipe, adding DWHR will lower total energy costs for new homes by about 10% and lower water heating costs by at least 20%.
The company said the change in Ontario sets the stage for similar moves in other parts of Canada and the United States. The technology has already been adopted in France and the United Kingdom and is expected to be approved in Sweden as well, the company said.