Recycling waste heat from bath water and setting minimum energy efficiency standards – Eco Cute Update

By Sabine Lobnig, Apr 11, 2012, 00:00 3 minute reading

Panasonic will launch a new series of Eco Cute, recovering waste heat from bathing water. The Japanese Ministry for Economy has included CO2 heat pump water heaters in the Top Runner Programme. Toshiba invests in Ene-Farm (household fuel cell), the main competing technology to Eco Cute in Japan. Toyota Homes contributes to the rebuilding of Tohoku region with all electric houses featuring Eco Cute. And Mitsui, one of Japan's biggest housing companies, says that by now 80% of all Mitsu

Panasonic: new June Eco Cute line-up will use waste heat from bath water

In June, Panasonic will bring out the new KUF/KF series of Eco Cute on the Japanese market. The particularity of this new series is what they call the “heat charge function”. This function allows the recovery of waste heat from bathing water, which then is used the following day to reheat the water.

The new series is equipped with 3 energy saving features intended to guarantee an energy efficient and comfortable hot water life cycle:
  • ECONAVI (intelligent sensors optimising performance)
  • Ryhtm eShower (saving water by fluctuating flow quantity at high speed)
  • "Heat charge" (new function recycling the waste heat from the remaining bath water)
The KUF series will sell for ¥819,000 – ¥984,900 (€7,715 – € 9,278).

The KF series will sell for ¥645,750 – ¥853,650 (€6,083 – €8,041).

Top Runner programme sets minimum energy efficiency standards for Eco Cute

For the first time, the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) has included Eco Cute in the Top Runner programme. Taking 2009 as reference year, the Ministry has defined base levels in 36 categories that will serve as a calculation base until 2017.

The Top Runner programme, initiated in 1998, intends to improve energy efficiency of end-use products, setting mandatory energy efficiency standards, based on the most efficient (“Top Runner”) products on the market, for a variety of appliances, equipment, and automobiles. The programme aims to develop “the world’s best energy-efficient products” and is one of the major pillars of Japan’s climate policy.

Eco Cute versus Ene-Farm

In the first half of 2012 Toshiba intends to offer a new product line of Ene-Farm, the household fuel cell product competing with Eco Cute in Japan. The company says that the product has an overall efficiency rating of 94%, emits 1.5 fewer tons CO2, and saves ¥61,000 (~ €575) in energy costs annually. The use of fewer and lower-cost components decreases costs as compared to existing models by 20%. The small size of Toshiba’s Ene-Farm model requires a footprint of only 1.9 square meters for installation, and Toshiba says its durability is the industry's longest, lasting 80,000 hours.

Toyota Homes rebuilds Tohoko region with all-electric houses featuring Eco Cute

Toyota Home is contributing to the rebuilding of Miyazaki and Fukushima, both hit hard by the earthquake and tsunami in March 2011, by supplying Smart Houses to the prefectures. This project had been selected by the METI in 2011 as a “leading project” in the effort to create a sustainable building sector and diminish CO2 emissions from commercial and residential buildings.

The Smart Houses are all-electric, solar-powered, equipped with Eco Cute and Home Energy Management Systems (HEMS).

Mitsui: 80% of home owners use solar power and Eco Cute

Mitsui Real Estate Development Co., Ltd. one of Japan's biggest housing companies, published the results of a survey among Mitsui house owners that shows that by now 80% of all Mitsui houses are fully solar powered and all-electric, i.e. featuring Eco Cute.

The original articles are listed below in the order of appearance in the column.


By Sabine Lobnig

Apr 11, 2012, 00:00

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