What’s Next for Homebuyers? Conserving, Reusing and Even Creating Water
Every year as I cover CES – the behemoth event for all things tech in Las Vegas — a few overarching trends emerge as I dart among 175,000 fellow attendees, in search of what’s new and what’s next for your new home.
How to make sense of the noise, spectacle and sheer excess of CES? I find it helpful to think about the larger trends and technologies that underpin the plethora of new products introduced each year, and whether those new products or technologies actually solve important problems for real people.
This year, one of the themes of CES is water. Dozens of companies are offering water-saving technology – and even a way to create fresh drinking water from the air in your home.
Let’s take a closer look at four examples of cutting edge-tech that homebuyers may see soon in new homes from top builders, architects, contractors and system integrators.
First, some facts to frame this:
- The average household uses more than five gallons of water per day for drinking and another 50 to 130 gallons each day for showering, laundry, and dishwashing, according to Watergen, the company behind the GENNY water-from-air-generator (one of the products we’ll cover here).
- Visit any news site and water shortages are already evident. Then add 26 percent more people to the globe over the next 30 years, since the United Nations predicts the world’s population will rise to 9.7 billion in 2050. That will deepen already serious water shortages.
- Water loss in your home can range from 2,000 to 20,000 gallons per year, according to the Alliance for Water Efficiency.
- Some of that loss comes from inefficiency, but much is due to leaks. According to Phyn, an early leader in leak detection, your home is 10 times more likely to be damaged by water than by fire. The cost to repair damage from a water leak damage averages $9,600.
Sound like compelling reasons to save water and create your own supply? I thought so. Here are four promising new ways to do so in your new home:
Detect and Stop the Leaks
Based on 10 years of machine learning applied to a real solution to an important problem, a team of data scientists from the University of Washington and Belkin International created a leak detection system that samples the water pressure in your home 240 times per second.
The Phyn Smart Water Assistant listens to what its inventors call “the language of water” to detect even minor leaks in real time. Phyn learns from an endless stream of data, anonymized for other homes it protects. The company says Phyn then “fingerprints” your faucets and fixtures to understand the water usage pattern of your home.
When Phyn suspects a leak, it alerts you via phone. The Phyn Plus adds auto shutoff to protect your home and runs a daily plumbing check.
Flo by Moen offers a comprehensive suite that includes many of these same features. Flo by Moen is integrated into your main water supply to protect your whole house — delivering proactive maintenance alerts to your smartphone that can identify a leak as small as one drop per minute. A simple and intuitive smartphone app allows users to turn off all water flow to their home until an issue can be identified and corrected.
In addition to remote control of your water flow, the platform offers automatic water shutoff to prevent greater damage. Flo by Moen runs unobtrusive daily tests to help maintain a leak free home. Optional Smart Water Detectors can be placed in a basement, laundry room, or other locations of your home where water damage could occur. These small sensors work in tandem with the Smart Water Shutoff feature to protect your home.
Moen offers an optional FloProtect program that adds additional benefits. For $5 per month, Flo by Moen users can be reimbursed up to $2,500 toward a deductible for water damage on homeowner insurance. FloProtect offers additional monitoring and reporting, as well as a verification letter that may help users lower their homeowner insurance premium.
Reuse and Recycle Water
Hydraloop, a water recycling system from a Dutch firm by the same name, cleanses and disinfects water from showers, baths, washing machines – allowing it to be reused for toilet flushing, washing machines, or in your garden.
Launched globally at CES, Hydraloop won a Best of Innovation Award at the 2020 event in the Category of Sustainability, Eco-Design, and Smart Energy. The system recycles 85 percent of water used in a typical home – reducing water consumption and sewage emissions by 45 percent.
Unlike other water treatment systems which uses filters that can clog, Hydraloop combines six successive technologies to recycle water – saving a family of four as much as 20,000 gallons of water per year.
“It’s absolutely ridiculous that we still flush our toilets and run our washing machines with drinking water,” Arthur Valkieser, CEO and co-founder of Hydraloop, told Electrek, a news website that covers the transition from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources.
Create Water – from the Air in Your Home
As important as it is to conserve water, detect and prevent leaks, and recycle as much water in your home as you can, perhaps the ultimate expression of water technology I saw at CES was GENNY, a water from air generator that needs only electricity to operate.
GENNY can generate up to eight gallons per day of high quality drinking water – based on moisture extracted from the air in your home or office. Watergen USA, the company behind the product, says GENNY can enable homeowners to bypass toxins that can be found in tap water – and avoid microplastics, which have been widely reported in, bottled water.
At an average cost of 8 cents per gallon, GENNY offers substantial savings vs. bottled water and H2O from other sources. The system uses air filtration and multi-stage ozone-based water purification to deliver pure and fresh drinking water.
These four products that allow homeowners to conserve water, detect and manage leaks, recycle water for other uses in the home and even create fresh water from thin air all pass my test. Each solves an important need or problem that affects most homeowners – and does so in novel and meaningful ways that deploy technology to improve the quality of life.
Look for more coverage of cutting-edge technology for homes during and after CES. Our team and I at NewHomeSource.com look forward to helping you navigate the waters to your new home.
Tim Costello is Chairman and CEO of Builder Homesite, Inc. Dedicated to the digital transformation of the homebuilding industry, BHI is owned by a consortium of 30 leading builders and also serves thousands of client builders.