What a difference a couple of years can make. When we first introduced you to Greyter Water Systems in 2016, the Ontario-based company was fine-tuning its new residential greywater product. By filtering shower and bath water so it can be reused for flushing toilets, the Greyter HOME system can cut household water consumption an impressive 20-25 per cent.
Today, the technology is attracting attention from home builders across North America — and with good reason. Using proprietary, self-cleaning filtration processes, the compact, easy-to-install system is designed to meet rigorous water quality standards and can supply all the water required for a typical household’s toilet flushing. With a price tag of around $3,700 USD for large volume builders, it’s a fraction of the cost of other residential greywater treatment equipment currently available.
Bringing new technology to market isn’t simple. Greyter accelerated that process by leveraging funding from the Southern Ontario Water Consortium’s (SOWC’s) Advancing Water Technologies (AWT) program, which is supported by the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario). Through AWT, the company teamed up with researchers from Fleming College’s Centre for Advancement of Water and Wastewater Technologies (CAWT) to refine the system and ensure it met the needs of both builders and homeowners. “I can’t tell you how satisfied I’ve been with the staff at CAWT,” says Greyter CEO Mark Sales. “They truly are superstars in this area.”
Big interest from big U.S. home builders
Those efforts paid off, judging by the buzz the product has generated. In 2017, for example, Greyter HOME received the Best Green Building Product award from the National Association of Home Builders, beating out more than 400 other innovations at the annual International Builders’ Show in Orlando, Florida.
Later that year, KB Home, a leader in energy and water-efficient houses, included the system as a demonstration technology inside its model home in Los Angeles County, California. Residential development giant Meritage followed suit in January 2018, adding Greyter HOME to the new concept home in Florida. And 25 homes are now successfully using the system as a result of the company’s successful “soft launch” in Ontario.
Most exciting of all, to Sales, is the recent expression of interest they’ve received from one of America’s biggest home builders to include 400 Greyter HOME systems in a new development coming online in late 2018.
NSF certification will unlock major markets
To break into more markets, Sales is now focused on securing NSF 350 certification. An internationally recognized independent health and safety organization, NSF sets strict water quality standards for residential water-reuse treatment systems. Today, a growing number of cities are making those standards mandatory.
The six-month evaluation involves running a filthy greywater “cocktail” through the treatment system to see how well it can handle shampoos, detergents, secondary effluent and anything else that might conceivably go down a shower drain.
According to Sales, the AWT project was crucial in preparing for that rigorous process. The Fleming College experts put the Greyter system through its paces, creating a setup that mimicked the NSF tests. “We’re confident that by November, we will have a certified NSF 350 system,” he says.
With over a million new homes built in Canada and the U.S. last year alone, that opens up all kinds of opportunities. That’s going to keep Greyter’s sales and marketing team busy — a team they’ve been able to expand because SOWC’s funding freed up dollars to hire additional staff.
Redefining sustainability in a water-scarce world
As global water resources face increasing pressure, the demand for residential greywater treatment systems is only going to grow. Sales points to major markets like California, where drought, population booms and a focus on sustainability make Greyter HOME a perfect solution. In South Africa’s Capetown, the city is literally running out of water. Even within the Great Lakes Basin, Ontario’s York Region has committed to slashing water consumption.
For builders, the Greyter HOME appliance offers potential incentives that may cover the cost of the installing the system. Incorporating Greyter HOME into their developments will help builders meet local sustainability requirements — and in some water-conscious municipalities, they could even qualify for incentives like density bonuses (allowing them to build more homes), expedited permits (allowing them to build faster) and reduced water connection fees. “We see thousands of our systems being deployed into the market as soon as three years from now,” says Sales. “In my opinion, it is simply the single greatest water conservation solution for new home construction.”
For Sales, reusing water just makes sense. Looking ahead, he sees future generations scratching their heads at the ways things used to be done. “One day…I think people are going to say ‘I can’t believe that for over 150+ years, we flushed toilets with perfectly good drinking water,’ ” he predicts.