The Index Project
Index Award 2009 Finalists
A family of easy-to-install, next-generation heat exchangers that capture the energy from your shower’s hot water

In many parts of the world, water — its essential value, management, conservation, and its uneven distribution among populations — is a major topic. As the global water crisis draws more and more focus, many designers are turning their attention to the problem, and looking for things that could be done in the developed world to help water consumers more easily save water.

The Ecodrain™ is a heat exchanger that can be easily installed in any new construction or bathroom remodel project. It takes heat from drain water and transfers it to fresh water, preheating it before it gets to the shower. 

“Typically a shower mixes water from the water heater with cold water from your supply so the shower won’t be too hot,” explains designer Dylan Velan. “What we’re doing is pre-heating the cold water supply. Then you need less of the hot water from the water heater to have your shower.”

The design has no moving parts and requires no electricity to operate. Inside is a specifically engineered piping configuration transfers heat energy from the hot shower water to the incoming fresh water supply. And, a patent-pending device optimizes turbulence in the fresh water supply for maximum energy recovery.

“There are certain details about it that enhance the performance,” Velan says. “But part of the challenge here is designing a heat exchanger that’s compact, cost-effective for the average homeowner, and that doesn’t cause a significant pressure loss.”

“The elegance of the Ecodrain approach is that you’re lightening the load of heated water needed for the shower you’re taking with the very water you’ve just used.”

Designed by
David Velan, Rana Bose, Steeltek International - Canada