Scientific article
Open access

Simple solutions first—energy savings for domestic hot water through flow restrictors

Published inEnergy efficiency, vol. 17, no. 1
Publication date2023-12-18
First online date2023-12-18

Domestic hot water production is the second most important energy use in the European residential sector, nowadays accounting for 14% of the sector’s total final energy consumption. Despite its importance, the energy efficiency improvement rates for domestic hot water are lower than for other residential energy services, hence calling for energy-saving measures. One key measure is to install flow restrictors. Their advantages are the low upfront cost, easy installation, and suitability for integration into energy efficiency programs. Focusing on flow restrictors, this paper presents different methods for quantifying the energy savings using ex-ante and ex-post approaches: deemed savings (DES), dedicated measurements (DMs), and monthly and yearly billing analysis (SMBA and ABA). These methods were tested using information based on measurements (water flow, temperatures), historical billing analysis, a survey among inhabitants, and interviews with field experts. While measurements made at individual faucets or showerheads show significant water savings (20% and 33% respectively), energy savings associated with hot water production in the boiler (final energy) are significantly lower (around 10%) but far from being negligible. The main reasons for the difference are thermal losses related to hot water distribution in central heating systems, usages not affected by flow restrictors, and inhabitants removing them. We conclude that flow restrictors offer promising potential for short- to medium-term implementation. Given the simplicity of this solution, we recommend including it systematically in energy efficiency programs, as well as implementing a ban on fixtures with flow rates beyond a predefined level.

  • Domestic hot water
  • Flow restrictors
  • Efficient showerheads
  • Energy savings
  • Energy conservation
  • Energy efficiency
  • Reduction of carbon emissions
  • Residential sector
  • Energy efficiency program evaluation
  • Ex-ante estimations
  • Ex-post evaluation
Citation (ISO format)
CABRERA SANTELICES, José Daniel et al. Simple solutions first—energy savings for domestic hot water through flow restrictors. In: Energy efficiency, 2023, vol. 17, n° 1. doi: 10.1007/s12053-023-10172-y
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Article (Published version)
ISSN of the journal1570-646X

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