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Water saving gadget roundup


Given that hosepipe bans and water conservation are the way of the future, and summer is pressing down hot upon us, we're revisiting water conservation gadgets.  Here's a really small and clever place to start: with the EcoKettle.  I was lucky enough to get one from the lovely folks at Toastess and absolutely love it.  Minimalist packaging, clean and easy design, pleasant to use.  It's cordless, meaning it has a base that it sits in while boiling, but you can easily move the carafe around.  The cord wraps nicely into the base so it isn't dangling about to trip over.  The best part, though, is that it has two compartments: you fill one with up to 1.5 liters of water, and then press a button on top to release as much water into the second chamber as you'd like to boil.  Only want one cup?  Then only release one cup.  Only that one cup gets boiled.  Saves power and water.  At £40 it's a bit expensive for how simple it is; I hope it takes off and hits mainstream so that all kettles end up being made this way.  The technology is so simple that we could've had kettles like this 50 years ago - but sometimes the simplest, most elegant solution takes half a century to think of.  Bravo, EcoKettle!

More ways to cope with the looming water crisis after the jump.


Water butts are a great way to pick up rainwater for your garden, but if you've got £3000 to invest, you can get a full-on rain harvesting system from Freerain.  Rainwater is collected from the roof and stored in a tank hooked into your water system, for use in washing machines, WC's and garden watering.  Allows you to save around 50% on your water consumption (and therefore 50% on your bills, in the long run).


If you're willing to invest in free water, but your budget is a bit lower, the Waterex from Pure Water Technology goes for £1000 and condenses 38 liters from thin air every day.  It's most suited for areas where plumbing is impractical to install (remote areas or people who are traveling) but if the water rationing takes off, that thousand quid for a free bathtub's full of water a day may start sounding like a good deal.


An easy one is the Water Hippo, a heavy gauge polyethelene box shape that sits in the cistern under the float, which takes up space in your toilet tank in such a way that you end up using less water per flush.  At £1.20 from the EcoStore, how can you not give it a try?  If you're willing to spend a bit more - £20 - there's the Interflush which can save about half the water per use - the tank only drains as long as you hold down the handle.


Aerating showerheads are a terrific way to stretch your water pence and also get a brisk morning shower.  They force oxygen into the stream to give the effect of a power shower at a quarter of the consumption - 25 liters per five minutes versus 100 liters per five minutes for the non-aerated version. 


If you heat your house with a radiator, you're using a non-trivial amount of water that you may not even be considering that you're consuming.  The good news is that for £200 you can outfit with 'knockonwood' radiators from B&Q that use 1/10th the normal amount of the wet stuff to achieve the same effect - they react to the environment faster so they optimise how much heat they release.  Available in luscious natural oak, beech or maple.  Plus the company plants a CO2-inhaling Robina tree for each radiator purchased.

With all of these options, you're sure to find something to suit your pocketbook and lower your water bills.  Also don't forget the good-old-fashioned water meter idea so you know how much you're using - and how much you're saving when you get through with the above improvements.  [GT]

June 26, 2006 in Energy saving, Renewables | Permalink


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