In an average European household, showering accounts for over a third of water loss, and around a quarter of heating use. A normal shower uses between 30 and 80 litres of warm and relatively clean water, which goes straight down the drain. Around 90 % of the energy used to heat the water is lost, too. In a world where water scarcity and excess energy consumption are problems that must be grappled with, an efficient solution to showering could bring huge benefits, while also improving the showering process. The SmartShower project, run by Flow Loop in Denmark, has designed the Eco Loop, an innovative shower panel which recycles water and energy using standard off-the-shelf components. Eco Loop is based on a patent-pending smart drain cover that enables the recycling process. “Flow Loop wants to reduce the water and energy consumption that a shower uses dramatically without sacrificing the experience. By recycling the water during a shower, we can save 75-85 % of both the water and the energy,” says Troels Grene, CEO and co-founder of Flow Loop, which hosted the EU-supported project. According to Flow Loop’s business plan, after 5 years in the European market, Eco Loop will result in annual savings of 4.2 billion litres of water and 109 million kWh of energy. The innovation could also bring huge environmental benefits by saving 24 000 tonnes of CO2 emissions.
The panel has two main modes. In the normal mode, water flows from the main supply like a standard shower. In recycling mode, water is pulled from the floor and passed through a series of filters, then purified in UV light, which kills bacteria and pathogens. The recycled water is then mixed with fresh hot water to maintain the desired temperature. A rinse cycle runs before and after each shower, flushing the water back through the system to clean the filters and ensure no water is shared between different users.
Compared to similar competitors, the Eco Loop has an advantage as it can be retrofitted in existing shower spaces. This makes it really easy to install the system, and the installation process is similar to installing a dishwasher. Furthermore, it helps to ensure a short return-on-investment for potential customers relative to competitor models. “The easy and fast installation without rebuilding the bathroom is a key element, as are our self-cleaning filters, which keep maintenance at an absolute minimum,” adds Grene. The product is also competing against water-saving shower heads and nudging devices, which try to get people to save water by using less. “These are cheaper options but they offer limited savings and sacrifice the shower experience. Flow Loop delivers a superior shower experience by increasing the flow by 50 %, compared to water-saving showers. It also uses only a fraction of the same amount of water and energy,” Grene explains.
“We are very happy and grateful for the support so far and hope that the EU will help us to fund the final development,” he says. The team is seeking additional funding to develop the product further and bring the system to the market. The grant money received from the EU was used to investigate technical and market feasibility. “The timing is right in the market. The world needs solutions to reduce water and energy consumption,” Grene notes.
SmartShower, shower, smart, environment, recycle, water, energy, saving