An award-winning Canadian company is collecting shower and bathwater — also known as grey water – along with rainwater and other sources to recycle for flushing toilets, all in the name of preserving a precious resource.
“Why are we flushing toilets with clean drinking water?” Greyter Water Systems CEO Mark Sales asked, during an interview with SusBiz.
The company launched in 2012 and started small. In less than a decade, however, its onsite water reuse systems are being used in more than a dozen countries.
The Barrie, Ont.-based company offers solutions that can supply all the water for a building’s toilet flushing, irrigation and other uses. It can help reduce indoor water consumption by as much as 25 per cent in a family home, Sales said.
The systems are assembled at a facility in Grassie, Ont., near the Grimsby airport in the Niagara Region.
There are two separate verticals for Greyter: single-family homes and commercial, which includes multiresidential buildings.
Greyter an award-winning product
The Greyter HOME system is low maintenance, automated and NSF 350 certified, meaning it meets stringent criteria for water reuse systems and requirements for quality in California, Colorado, Florida and Texas (there’s no equivalent Canadian certification).
Capturing water from showers and bathtubs, the system treats it to a nearly drinkable quality and provides clear, odour-free water for flushing toilets.
Greyter HOME won the Best Green Building Product during the 2017 National Association of Home Builders International Building Show. In 2019, it topped the Smart Water category (for grey water and rainwater) at the TecHome Brilliance Awards.
Even before Greyter started collecting those accolades, the product had already caught the eye of Geranium Homes president Boaz Feiner in 2013. Although a single-family residential system wasn’t yet available in Canada, Geranium decided to include the rough-in for a grey water system in its low-rise homes.
That’s something that would be “much more costly to do, if possible at all, once the house was built,” said Feiner. “By providing the rough-in, we are giving the owners of our homes the opportunity to buy and install a system when they became available for houses.”
Greyter HOME in Geranium’s Edgwood development
Last year, Geranium got its chance to install the residential systems into a development comprised of 21 new executive three-storey houses in a Pickering, Ont. enclave called Edgewood. The collaboration makes Geranium the first large-scale builder in Canada to parcel this feature into the construction of an entire community.
That led to the City of Pickering awarding Geranium its 2019 Sustainability Award.
For Edgewood homeowners, this will mean reducing their water bill by 20 per cent; a family of four will save up to 30,000 litres of water in a year—enough to fill a 16×32-foot rectangular swimming pool.
Many municipalities are recognizing the benefits of residential water recycling to conserve regional water supplies and create water-efficient communities, Sales said, especially in areas where growth is constrained by limited water resources.
When it comes to long-term impact, the system contributes to a sustainable water management strategy for communities and helps homeowners save on water and sewer costs, he said.
Homes typically see grey water account for 30 per cent of interior water use, said Sales, while toilet flushing is in the 20 to 25 per cent range.
“It’s the perfect supply-and-demand match,” Sales said.
There are no signs of slowing down for Sales and his team.
“I think that the single-family home product, the Greyter HOME, is going to be the dominant product for greatest revenues,” Sales said.
About Greyter, and its founders
Sales is a co-founder of Greyter, alongside John Bell, who is vice-president of business development.
Sales’ investment experience spans 15 years, including posts at Merrill Lynch and Venture West Partners in Denver. He co-founded a renewable energy start-up, Prodal-G, and was previously a founding director of Ontario Clean Tech Industry Association (OCTIA).
Since 2007, Sales’ focus has been on developing new technology solutions that can lead to a more sustainable world.
As for the commercial system, clients and properties range from office and retail (Aviva’s office tower in Markham) to schools and colleges (Ottawa’s Algonquin College is on the list).
Government clients include a fire hall in Oakville, Ont., and a $2.4-million, 12,000-square-foot fire station in Colorado Springs. Firefighters shower often, Sales said by way of explanation for that sector.
The pump station for commercial properties features the Greyter Commercial Controller. That’s a proprietary electronic water management controller which monitors and runs the entire system, including grey water tank levels, system pressure and temperature, actuated valve control, disinfecting circuit, grey water diversion and water usage monitoring.
Other major clients for Greyter include the U.S. Army Reserve Centre and Air Force, and the Radisson Park Inn in Costa Rica.
The company’s moniker, Sales explained, is more than a play on words: “I liked the idea of having ‘great’ in the name.”