Blades of glory
They say the best ideas in life are simple and Such is the case with a product called the Waterblade. just a small piece of plastic, the company behind the device claim it can dramatically reduce water and energy usage as well as having health benefits. Joe Young reports.
As society becomes increasingly environmentally conscious, many plumbers have been replacing standard taps with water saving aerating nozzles. That simple change-over will generally more than halve the water usage from a tap. A standard tap uses ~10 to 20 litres of water per minute and a water saving tap with an aerating nozzle uses ~5 l/min. A new product yet to hit Australian shores allows taps to operate at ~2.5 l/min.
The product is simply a piece of plastic that can be screwed onto a tap nozzle and it’s called the Waterblade.
The Waterblade takes a trickle of water and shapes it into a paper thin sheet of water as wide as the human hand. This ‘jelly fish’ shaped stream gives a very efficient distribution of water allowing users to wash their hands using minimal water.
The flow modification device not only reduces water bills but it can dramatically reduce energy heating costs by reducing the amount of hot water used.
Waterblade creator Nigel Bamford said his company did a commercial test at the Royal bank of Scotland in Edinburgh.
“We ran a feasibility study, installing the Waterblade in six washrooms each with five basins,” Nigel says.
“It is a modern building with aerating water saving nozzles already installed which operated at 6l/min, so it already had good environmental credentials.
“The test showed the Waterblade reduced water consumption by 60%, which equates to about a £26.5 (~$45AUD) saving, per tap, per year. There was a £10 water saving and a £16.5 energy saving.
“Obviously there are so many factors to determine payback periods such as water and energy costs, water usage habits etc. but in the UK, with standard usage, the estimated payback period was around 4 months.”
Nigel says the benefits of the Waterblade extend past water and energy savings, explaining the health benefits the product can bring.
“Aerating nozzles have been taken out of medical environments because they have been implicated in harbouring and spreading pathogens,” he says.
“They can suck in contaminants then mix the air with the water and blow it out again, in a way vaporising it.
“With things like Legionella, breathing it in is the worst thing you can do, so you won’t have an aerating nozzle in an environment where you have vulnerable people.
“The water blade has laminar flow, so it’s a good choice for those environments. We are in discussion with relevant people regarding that as well.”
However this still presents an opportunity to plumbers.
Once distribution avenues become available in Australia plumbers can carry the Waterblade and offer it as a small up-sell when installing taps.
Nigel is looking for distribution partners all over the world and hopes to have the Waterblade in Australian plumbing retailers shortly.