This post originally appeared on Orphan Road.

You turn on a shower.  Your hot water heater takes water that’s the same temperature as the ground (roughly 50F, depending on the season) and heats it up to around 120F.  The water runs in pipes through your walls (losing some of this heat to the outside), then you mix it with some cold water to bring it down to 105 or so (an unnecessary increase of entropy, which wastes energy), it runs by your body once, then you dump almost all of that beautiful, expensive heat down the drain.

But King County Executive Dow Constantine, working with the FreeHold group, wants to take some of that heat you’re wasting and heat other buildings with it.  They are also using ground source heat pumps, adding a smart grid, supplying district heat and cooling, recovering methane from landfill waste, harvesting rainwater, and even want to add a new Sounder station at Interbay.  The entire Interbay project will be mixed use with offices, retail, and industrial all sharing the same campus and sometimes the same building. 

Check the project out (PDF of features here, sales PDF here).  Want to save some of that wasted heat yourself?  Consider shower heat recovery.  It’s just a coil of copper tubing around your shower drain, and pays back quickly for new construction, and in a reasonable number of years for many retrofit installations.