About 350 billion kilowatt hours of wastewater energy are flushed down drains annually, says the US Department of Energy. King County in Washington State hopes to harness that wasted heat and use it in buildings, reports Ashley Ahearn at Living On Earth. From showers to dishwashing flows a supply of 65-degree Fahrenheit wastewater through miles of pipes. The county is making these pipes accessible to developers as a heat source for new buildings. Just like a refrigerator that moves heat away from food, heat pumps can be installed that basically move the heat from pipes to buildings. The International WasteWater Heat Exchange Systems does just that. The savings can be huge. The company lowered the energy consumption of one Vancouver building by 75 percent, for example. Operating at 600 percent efficiency, the company reaps 6 dollars worth of energy for every dollar spent to recover wastewater energy. Company sales are projected to jump from three million currently to 50 million next year. The key is to get developers of new buildings to incorporate this technology early in the design process, in order to reap big energy savings later.
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Wastewater to energy. About 350 billion kilowatt hours of energy are flushed down drains in the form of warm wastewater every year, says the US Department of Energy. And one county in Washington State hopes to be among the first in the nation to try to harness that wasted heat and use it in buildings. Living On Earth