Efficient, decentralized hot water distribution in the built environment
Microheat technology for efficient, decentralized hot water distribution in the built environment

Solution

The idea is simple, rectify past and stop the current procurement of centralized hot water systems in medium/ high density residential and commercial buildings.  To do this, the idea is to design a rapid procurement and retrofitting strategy of decentralized hot water with Microheat Technologies products.  Currently most of the above mentioned buildings (both old and proposed projects) rely on centralized systems that require massive standby heating and pumping systems to distribute the water around the building, costing energy and dead cold water slugs at an alarming rate.  This is a supply side strategy, only with demand side strategy can we be truely efficient.

MicroHeat Technologies Pty Ltd is a young, successful Australian private business focusing on the research and development of highly-advanced systems in the fields of rapid water heating technology, for both domestic and industrial applications. The technology is proprietary (patent protected) in over 52 countries - it saves energy, water and greenhouse gas emissions. The MicroHeat technology methodologies creates a paradigm shift in the way industry and society thinks about heating water (industry creative disruptive technology). The electrical instantaneous hot water system (EIWH) relies on the conductivity of the water. The water is energized (heated) via inert electrodes in the water stream. It incorporates a microprocessor based control / feedback loop that delivers absolute outlet temperature control at any flow rate or fluid input temperature accurate to (+/- 1.0 degC). The microprocessor calculates the exact energy required to heat the water to the set temperature. This results in key functional and commercial differentiation from current �instantaneous� hot-water system (VCAMM, 2009).  This makes the technology a supply side solution, at close to 100% efficient, small, and cost effective (based upon a global manufacture and supplier plan in place at the company) for the world wide market, with products both in the boiling water and cold/hot water categories early 2012.

The technology will address the following criteria for both new and existing buildings:

   * Water Use Reduction, e.g. How can sites reduce water from inside and lower their reliance on municipal water supplies.

The reason Microheat fits this criteria is that requires less mains water at ambient temperature than traditional building systems, and heats that water to the desired temperature, saving water wasted in cold water slugs when a tap is first turned on (which can accumulate markedly in a large building).  This also saves the standby energy of hot water for the building, which is often substantial, with no heat tracing, pumping, tank storage heating, or top up heating is required making it truly point of use.  This could indirectly save water related to the electrical grid base load generation due to the water used with fossil fuels or other technologies in that production.  The technology can operate at low or high flow at any temperature, so it can be used in combination with any number of other water saving devices and strategies.

The technology is also future proofed, so that as greenhouse gas emissions of electrical grids drop aroundresources expanding and coming online, so the greenhouse gas intensity of this product will drop, and when combined with the energy and water efficiency of the unit, make it a potent force within the new paradigm for green buildings, compared to traditional centralized alternatives.

I am a research fellow and a research area leader in the Sustainable Products and Packaging team at the Centre for Design at RMIT University in Melbourne Australia. I also have worked as a Product Design Engineer both in Australia and Europe for almost a decade. My work has crossed a large range of industries, including design consultancies (Neopurple), leading commercial interior furniture manufacturers (Schiavello), and multinational appliance companies (Dyson, UK). I am currently engaged with Microheat Technologies to begin some research into case studies of their technology in context, and any prize from this idea would go toward that research.   I have the support of Microheat directors in this submission.

In terms of any outcomes from this idea according to the Briefing, I would envisage that if this idea were selected, that professionals around the world would be engaged about the technology, and they would directly engage Microheat Technologies in regard to specifying the products in both new and retrofitting projects in the built environment.

For the submitted media file, see the video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gX-MyZ86DvQ. The mandatory attachment is simply the Microheat logo, the video explains more than the logo obviously (it is a video form the dedicated supplier Hills in the Australian region).