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Dispositivo para ahorrar agua en el hogar


Oferta Tecnológica
Un laboratorio de un centro de investigación italiano especializado en tratamiento de aguas residuales y ahorro de agua ha desarrollado y obtenido la patente de un dispositivo que se instala en grifos domésticos existentes para reducir fugas de agua relacionadas con el uso de agua caliente. Este sistema, que está siendo probado en campo y no requiere la sustitución de las tuberías de la casa, permite ahorrar agua potable y energía. El laboratorio busca empresas para fabricar y comercializar el dispositivo.


Device for water saving in households
A Laboratory of an Italian research institution, active in wastewater treatment and in water savings, patented a device to be retrofitted in existing domestic taps, for the abatement of fresh water spills associated with hot water use. Savings are obtained in terms of reduced consumption of drinkable water and of energy. The device is now undergoing field tests.
A manufacturing agreement with a company able to produce the device and commercialize it is required.

A Laboratory of an Italian research institution, active in wastewater treatment and in water savings, invented and tested a device to be installed in existing domestic taps, for the abatement of fresh water spills associated with hot water use. Savings are obtained in terms of reduced consumption of drinkable water and of energy. After the successful testing phase the device was patented.
The device is mainly conceived for applications in existing buildings where refurbishment of water pipes and/or of hot water generation system is not planned, being it expensive and cumbersome.
On the contrary the proposed device is not needed in new or renovated buildings, since CEN (Comité Europeén de Normalisation) rules require that hot water must be available to the user at the appropriate temperature using less than 3 litres of water.
Up to few years ago hot (and cold) water distribution piping in residential buildings were not planned keeping in mind savings in the amount of drinkable water and of thermal energy. Long water pipelines - when boiler and taps stay far away from each other as it is customary for old layouts - happen frequently to be also built with oversized inner diameter. Usually when hot water is needed and the corresponding tap is opened, cold water starts to flow first. A delay occurs before the water begins to turn warm. Normally the whole amount of water delivered during this initial process is just thrown away in the sink drain. Even worse some households choose to increase the boiler hot water temperature setting in order to reduce warm water delivering time to the tap. This leads to higher energy consumption. In any case fresh drinkable water waste and/or energy waste seem unavoidable.

The proposed device tries to reduce these problems, with no need to replace the pipeline in the house.
The mechanism of action of this technology at tap level is that if the water hasn´t reached the pre-set temperature its outflow is diverted from the tap and water is not thrown away. In any case, if needed, it is always possible to get instant cold water flow.
Only when the water at the user point has reached the pre-set temperature the system allows it to flow through the tap in the washbasin.
A second advantage of this device is the possibility to set a low flow of water from the tap - either by opening it just a little or by fitting it with a conventional aerator - without increasing the waiting time for warm water. This behaviour can further enhance energy savings in the building.

The co-operation type envisaged is:
- Manufacturing Agreement; the partner should be able to develop an engineered version of the prototype for series production at reasonable costs for the device to enter the market.

Advantages and Innovations:
- This technology is mainly focused on fresh water savings, but it can also lead to thermal energy savings.
- Water preservation is a key point to be pursued in geographical areas where water availability is scarce. Water savings, if practiced at large, could avoid to resort to new supplies or to build new purification plants.
- Strong efforts have been made at EU level for providing frameworks for water savings in the field of "white appliances" and WC flush, but little has been done for personal use water savings, particularly hot water, despite the fact that facing up to this topic could lead to important outcomes.
- The proposed technology can be retrofitted on existing water taps of households, in a short time, with acceptable costs, and without refurbishing the water piping.
- Most of the available technologies on the market in the field of household water use are focused on comfort for the person (e.g. temperature stabilizers flow control, efficient aeretors, multi-jet shower heads, etc.) while they don´t address the problem of water lost in the "transient" situation, until water temperature has reached the needed value. But this loss constitutes an appreciable amount of everyday consumption.
- International studies on consumption in the residential sector agree on breakdown values for to different activities. Faucets/taps account for 15-16% of indoor water use. The adoption of the present device, together with aeretors or flow restrictors, could lead to savings between 3% and 6% of indoor water consumption in relation to piping length/diameter and demand profile.
Few devices - comparable in some way with the present one - exist, but they exhibit high prices and do not have the features included here.
Patents US5277219, US5603344 et al. show similarities with this device, but also differences and are more concerned about instant hot water delivery (recirculation at fixed times, so energy consumption occurs even when water is not needed).
Stage of Development:
Prototype available for demonstration
Patents granted

Partner sought

Type and Role of Partner Sought:
The partner sought should come from the industry world and particularly from domestic thermo-hydraulic manufacturing sector. The partner should be able to design an engineered version of the prototype at reasonable costs and assess the profitability in case a series production should be planned.


Type and Size of Client:
R&D Institution
Already Engaged in Trans-National Cooperation:
Languages Spoken:


Technology Keywords:
10004012 Agua en edificios
004008 Energy efficiency