Your washing machine consumes over one-quarter of a modern household’s water, only to be needlessly wasted down the drain after a single use. The Grey Cycle solves this by enabling a new life on that water, allowing it to be reused. The garden of an Australian property has become the pride of each homeowner, and a growing need to sustainability maintain it is favoured. However, with reductions already seen in rainfall here in Australia, the tap water a garden consumes grows, putting strain on our reserves and infrastructure. Capitalising on the water expelled from a washing machine, the Grey Cycle can filter and store this manageable quantity for reuse in non-potable applications. As a result, it will afford its users a greener environment year long. Existing solutions to wasteful water consumption afford low incentives, failing to return investments in the short-term and making water usage a sub-par experience. The Grey Cycle incentivises use by not trying to solve short-term savings but by allowing a household to maintain a greener home environment without relying on utility water.
The Grey Cycle achieves its function by utilising self-cleaning filter technology and advances in ultra-violet light to clean and sterilise water for use in the home. Whilst the water is non-potable but safe around children, the machine will, after two days, empty stagnant water to reduce the possibility of dangerous bacteria forming. Aesthetically the Grey Cycle takes after other products in its class, such as washing machines and clothes dryers. These functions, in conjunction with a simple plug-and-play setup like your washing machine, improve the widespread adoption of the Grey Cycle in suburban environments. The result would significantly reduce sewerage volume of sewerage thus decreasing power consumption and infrastructure investment for sewerage processing.
Designed for the home, the Grey Cycle fits seamlessly into any environment. Achieved with replaceable panels that allow a user to have any finish they like to match their other fixtures. A benefit of this modular design also includes ease of maintenance of the machine itself. By allowing simple and quick access to parts of the machine typically hidden from a user.
The Grey Cycle features a user replaceable filter that can be easily cleaned in the laundry sink. With a three layered filtration system, we expect the Grey Cycle to produce safe non-potable water that can be used on the garden and to wash your car. In combination with medical grade UV lamps, the filtered water can be kept up to 48 hours before the machine will automatically flush the system. This is done to reduce the chances of contamination inside the vessel.
As a part of this project, we were tasked to map out the existing system and then envision what that system would look like with our project intervention. Shown here is a mind map posed for the future. Our “Grey Cycle” and other grey water converters displayed here show the incredible impact machines in its class can have on not only the water utility network, but also the electrical network. By reducing and reusing water, diverting waste to the garden, we can minimise the impact on infrastructure during periods of drought.
Early on in our research we found that federal and local governments had little direct interaction with their residents when it came to effective water use. Traditionally, in Australia, water utility companies and hardware stores would be the ones that promote effective water usage. The PACT analysis shown tells us how the Grey Cycle can, with the addition of government rebates, allow federal and local governments to become a part of the water usage discussion.
Through journey maps, we quickly discovered that existing product interventions gave users low incentives. The current system of low flow shower heads and whole home grey water systems leave users wanting. With issues ranging from long term costs savings and poor user experiences with existing products, a need for a solution that gave immediate feedback in a cost effective way was required. Our product intervention of the Grey Cycle, gives users immediate feedback by providing monetary savings, replacing the need for utility water in a garden. Thus, the product enables a greener backyard 365 days a year, the pride of Australian and American homeowners.