Ecotime recovers rainwater to preserve drinking water
by Startup Montréal
15 May 2023
15 May 2023
This article was initially published in French on infobref.com
Drinking water is not an inexhaustible resource. Yet it is used for many purposes, such as watering and flushing toilets, which do not require drinking water. Solutions Ecotime, a Montreal-based start-up, has designed a system that recovers rainwater for uses that do not require treated water to be potable.
The problem the company is tackling is the waste of drinking water. In Quebec and elsewhere in the world, utilities filter and treat water to make it potable. “Waste is common because, once treated, water is used for purposes that don’t require drinking water,” explains Eddy Dureuil, co-founder and vice-president of Solutions Ecotime. Drinking water is used for showering as well as washing the car. It should be better preserved, believes the entrepreneur, for 2 reasons: it will become increasingly scarce as a result of climate change and population growth and the problem will worsen more rapidly in developing countries, where freshwater is less available than elsewhere.
Ecotime’s solution is a rainwater collection and filtration system: the Oasis. “Rainwater falls for free. But currently, it’s managed like waste: it’s treated before being returned to nature,” says Eddy Dureuil. Ecotime’s Oasis system does the opposite: it collects rainwater using a collector installed on the roof of a building. The water collected in this way can then be used for certain purposes that do not require drinking water.
This reduces wastage, as more than half the water used in buildings does not need to be potable, says the contractor. In office buildings, around 75% of water is used for toilets. Ecotime’s system is designed primarily for commercial and office buildings.
It treats the rainwater collected. Without making it potable, it purifies it of certain contaminants that could cause illness or damage surfaces. The system alerts Ecotime if a filter needs changing, or in the event of a problem (the customer also receives an alert, via a mobile application).
The business model is to sell the Oasis system to mechanical engineering firms that maintain water pipes in commercial buildings. These firms then pay a monthly fee for system maintenance. The Oasis can be modified to adapt the volume of the tank and the type of water treatment, depending on the size and nature of the building.
Ecotime is about to launch a pilot project in a municipal building in Quebec. Alongside the development and sale of the Oasis, the company is also a distributor of Hydraloop, a system that recycles water from showers, baths and washing machines for reuse in toilets or for watering.
The company is one of 20 start-ups selected this year in Startup Montréal’s Bourse+ program.
Next steps for Solutions Écotime:
Within the next few months, the company will be delivering several machines to 2 major real estate developers in Quebec.
In the longer term, it wants to export its product to America, Europe and the Caribbean.
It also wants to help businesses and municipalities prepare for potential water shortages. Eddy Dureuil believes that his product will enable businesses to adapt when governments make water meters mandatory, which he expects will happen in the next few years.