Redirection Water System

Redirection Water System: Redirection Water System: eliminating water waste

Porto Alegre, BrazilPORTO ALEGRE, Brazil
Year Founded:
2009
Organization type: 
for profit
Project Stage:
Start-Up
Budget: 
$10,000 - $50,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

In 2015 Brazil's southeast region has passed through the worst drought period in the last hundred years. More than hundred millions people were being affected without access of water. Solutions to avoid waste are more important than ever.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

we could use water more wisely?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Showers which use gas heating system, very common at hotels and middle class dwellings, usually waste a considerable amount of water because the user doesn’t make use of it until it is properly heated. Measures indicate that the wasting is about 12 liters per shower which represents 10% of total consumption in some residences. Therefore, if this percentual can be saved it would mean approximately one less bill to pay by the end of the year.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

The proposed solution is a system that monitors the showering water heating process, recycling water back to the residential water tank until it is properly heated for usage. The system consists of a valve connected to a thermostat - both items are available in the market, but not designed and assembled as an unique system with the purpose here described, as to measure water temperature and provide a proper temperature control. The system shall be physically installed near the shower, as part of the shower pipe system. When user turns the shower on, water flows through the pipes and thermostat measures its temperature: while this measured temperature is under 40ºC, water is redirected back to water tank and, therefore, reducing water waste.

Awards

1. Prêmio Jovem Cientista 2010 (Young Scientist Award, the most important prize for researching in Latin America); 2. Odebrecht Award for Sustainable Development 2009; 3. Santander Entrepreneurship Award 2011
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

An example of how the solution makes a difference can be demonstrated by a pilot project I have installed in a residence in Brazil during the initial months of the study. The operation proved to be sustainable with respect to the products used. Users were satisfied, considering that they demonstrated greater satisfaction than without the system. Were satisfied also with the water savings generated and the increased quality in the bath with the hot water coming out just at the exact moment of consumption. It is easy to see that if the product gets installed in a considerable number of households in the country it would generate a large amount of water gain, automatically and without the dependence of user ‘s consciousness.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

The system saves an average of 12 liters of water per bath. Considering a house with 4 people, this saves at least 48 liters of water per day, which represents approximately 10% of the water usage of the residence. We are currently experiencing the worst drought of the century in Brazil, affecting in larger scale the Southeast region that includes the state of São Paulo, and affects more than 100 million people. There is rationing water during certain hours of the day and the government directs people to save water. I'm sure that a system would help people with this economy, and in times of crisis like the present, 10% is an economy that can make a difference in the lives of millions of people. The product pays for itself in three years of use with water savings generated.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

I believe that in the future all showers, which use gas heating systems, must Install the redirector for prevent water wastage. It has potential for expansion and lead to a large saving water now wasted. beyond the Brazilian market, about 5 million homes with gas water heating, there is still the possibility of action in the European and American market, which after the initial expansion in Brazil ensures an extremely large potential market. I also believe this will encourage more simple ideas which can be incorporated in construction to make our cities more sustainable.
Sustainability

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

sustainability? To ensure financial sustainability a partnership will be formed with a valve manufacturer, which has agreed to a prior commitment. A percentage of sales will remain with the company to be formed, which will manage the marketing and sales. Infrastructure costs and initial advertising of the product on the market will be diluted by the partner. Other manufacturing and logistics costs will be covered by product price.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

I have no information about any other company that is providing the same kind of solution. The only competition so far is the use of electric showers, but in colder regions with higher purchasing power the sale of gas heaters keeps increasing and the problem of waste water persists.
Team

Founding Story

Very often I heard users complaining about the waste of water in showers which use gas heating system, very common in Brazilian residences. For my final course work, while studying mechanical technician, I was studying mechanisms to avoid wastage of water and I saw in this problem an opportunity to be studied. That seemed like a good opportunity because of the high number of homes that use gas heating systems and the high wastage resulting from this use. Observing the operation of a thermostat in car engines I thought “why not join thermostat with a valve and redirect wasted water to a tank?”. I made some experiences assembling the components in some ways until I reached the expected result.

Team

Right now, besides me, there is no one directly involved in the project. I’ve been working on my own up to this moment. The Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, where I was studing when developed the project also were an important partnership, with their laboratories and teachers.
Background
Please confirm how you heard about the Unilever Awards:

Internet

Please confirm your role in the initiative (eg Founder/co-Founder) and your organisational title:

Founder - CEO

Which of the 8 UN Global Goals (Sustainable Development Goals) pre-selected for this competition does your solution relate most closely to? [select all that apply]

Clean Water and Sanitation.

Leadership and the Unilever Awards
Please provide examples of any previous entrepreneurial initiatives you have pioneered.

There are three entrepreneurial initiatives that I realized until today: the first is to insert the project here presented in an incubator for startups. The second was to have participated voluntarily a junior company, firm young university in which I performed consulting projects in industrial engineering. The third was to have been a finalist in the Santander Entrepreneurship Award, for a model of sustainable business plan presented in 2011.

Beyond your existing team, who else are you working with to achieve your objectives, eg partners, advisors, mentors?

Right now, besides me, there is no one directly involved in the project. I’ve been working on my own up to this moment. The Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, where I was studing when developed the project also were an important partnership, with their laboratories and teachers. First my business plan intends to an association with a valve manufacturer to take advantage of their knowledge and dilute the potential risks of investing in infrastructure. This ensures the production in scale of the product. The company to be created this way would focus on marketing of the product and contact the major builders to introduce the system in their buildings. By signing the first partnership with a major construction company other construction companies will be interested, because they need to get to the same level of innovation offered by the first company.