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Energy-efficient plumbing technologies of the future


Some energy-efficient technologies are the holy grail of the plumbing industry. These technologies would allow a building to be a comfortable, safe place to live or work while using only the energy it generates, with no connections to the utility grid. Like the Holy Grail of history, however, these desirable technologies are just out of our reach. Hopefully, one day someone will discover the magic formula of economics, engineering, construction, maintenance and efficiency that will achieve a balanced off-grid system.

When you look at how far we have come, you might wonder what other technological achievements changed the way we design buildings. I think of the stories my mother and father told me about when they were growing up in the 1920s. At that time, it was still common to find homes with no electricity or running water. Horses were still seen on the streets, on farms and in gardens. Cheap electrical energy made municipal water systems possible and changed the quality of life.

What are some plumbing energy technologies that may change the way we design buildings? This column looks at solar water heating systems that could alter our way of life, including one method using absorption chillers and another using thermal heat.

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