The Valvecosy story
Find out where we've been and where we're going to. If you have your own Valvecosy™ story please contact us.
October 2016 Get Bill Smart – Community Energy Efficiency Education
Education for Sustainability Tasmania A Regional Centre of Expertise mentioned the use of Valvecosy™ in their "Get Bill Smart" program. More information can be found here.
August 2016 Valvecosy™ and Penguins?
No we're not advocating keeping penguins warm by encasing them in Valvecosys™, Penguin publishing has released the book "The Energy-Freedom Home: how to wipe out electricity and gas bills in nine steps" by Beyond Zero Emissionshere". Valvecosy™ gets a mention.
June 2016 The Conversation
The Conversation published an article "22 ways to cut your energy bills (before spending on solar panels)". Step 7 recommends insulating the pressure-relief valve on your hot water tank and provides a link to Valvecosy™.
Talking of conversations please help spread the word about Valecosy™. Given the obscure nature of pressure relief valves (most people don't even realise their hot water service has one) we rely on word of mouth to make people aware of the effectiveness of Valecosy™. Talk, tweet, post, the more Valecosy™s out there the more energy will be saved. This facebook conversation is a good example.
December 2015 Christmas Energy Saving
Thanks to the thousands of people who've bought a Valvecosy™ over the last year!
To further help you save energy and keep cool this summer we'd like to share a presentation that was brought to our attention. Tim Forcey of the Bayside Climate Change Action Group (BCCAG) has prepared a presentation on residential thermal imaging for a local ATA branch meeting. There's plenty of food for thought on ways to increase the efficiency of your home.
Valvecosy™ even gets a mention on page 59. You can download the presentation here.
November 2015 Ecological Design Household Energy Efficiency Workshops
If you, your community or organisation are looking for practical and simple solutions to save energy, Ecological Design are offerring home energy efficiency workshops. They'll even demonstrate a Valvecosy™ for you!
More information on their workshops can be found here.
November 2015 Sustainable Living Tasmania Energy Assessments
We were in Hobart during the Tasmanian Sustainable Living Festival and bumped into the people at Sustainable Living Tasmania. They offer a home energy assessment service and will even install a Valvecosy™ for you.
More information on their workshops can be found here.
September 2015 Sustainable House Day
May 2015 Practically Green at Home
The Nillumbik and Whittlesea councils have produced a booklet "Practically Green at Home", a guide to sustainable building, renovating and living. On page 72 they list installing a Valvecosy™ as one of the things you can do to an existing house. You can download a copy here.
March 2015 Sustainability House Review
March 2015 South East Councils Climate Change Alliance
February 2015 Save it for the game
"Save it for the game" a website offering advice to sporting clubs on how to save energy, indicate in their SAVE 3: Shorter Showers fact sheet to remember to insulate the hot water service relief valve with a Valvecosy™
September 2014 GV Community Energy
Goulburn Valley Community Energy (GV Community Energy) has been using Valvecosy™ in their projects.
August 2014 Climate Action Moreland
Climate Action MORELAND include Valvecosy™ in their list of things anyone can do to help improve their energy efficiency.
July 2014 QMDC
June 2014 Power Savers Program
The Nature Conservation Council of New South Wales (NCCNSW) in conjunction with their partners are utilising Valvecosy™ in their rollout of Power Savers program to help people save power and save money. Download the brochure for more information on how you can be involved in the program.
May 2014 Greenideas
Greenideas magazine in their article on "How to insulate your pipes" indicate to use a Valvecosy™ for a better job of insulating your pipes.
May 2014 Community Support
At Valvecosy™ we can't afford to keep vast numbers of advertising executives fed and watered. So this limits our ability to get the valve insulation message out to people. That's why we appreciate the time and effort taken by people, community groups, councils and companies to mention Valvecosy™. To our supporters a big THANKS!
May 2014 Ecomad
Ecomad are now stocking Valvecosy™ along with providing a range of services including energy audits. They have one of our display stands, so if you see them out and about ask for a Valvecosy™ demonstration.
April 2014 Frankston Council
Frankston council have included Valvecosy™ in requests for tenders.
March 2014 Energy Assessment
Energy Assessments offer a free Valvecosy™ (fit and install) with their midrange and advanced services. More information can be found here.
February 2014 Sustainable Living Festival
The Valvecosy™ story was presented at the "Homegrown social & eco-entrepreneurs" forum at the Victorian Sustainble Living Festival. The forum was an initiative of Transition Hobson's Bay. They did a marvelous job and were rewarded with an award for "The Most Interactive State of Sustainability Event".>
Valvecosy™ also had a stand at the Hobson's Bay Sustainable Homes Expo.
January 2014 Hot Service Installation Audits
We've received feedback from plumbers in Victoria that inspectors are enforcing compliance to AS/NZS 3500.4 section 8.2.1 b) which states that all relief valves fitted directly to a storage heater require insulation. You can find the Victorian Building Authority hot water plumbing audit checklist here.
Save the hassle of failing an audit and install a Valvecosy™ at the time of installation.
August 2013 Beyond Zero Emissions Australia Buildings Plan
Valvecosy™ has been included in Beyond Zero Emissions's Australia Buildings Plan as a way of increasing the efficiency of hot water systems. There's a mention in section 5.3 on "Improving Current Practice" and a picture in figure 3.34. You can download a copy of the report from here.
August 2013 DesertSmart Ecofair
They'll have Valvecosy™s at their stand if you want to check one out!
July 2013 Out and about in Sydney
During July Valvecosy™ was seen out and about at a few events around Syndey, including:
- Redfern Community Centre with the Green Renters' crew.
- Ashfield Council's "Treading Lightly" workshop series.
- Waverly Council's "Bondi the Beautiful" evet displaying energy efficiency technologies.
June 2013 Green it yourself
May 2013 Some good feedback
Ron Spurling from Streaky Bay in South Australia gave us some good feedback on his Valvecosy™ installation:
I have checked the valve on previous occasions and was surprised at how cold it was, even though the hot water was OK. When I checked the valve a couple of days after fitting the valvecosy, the valve was up around what the temperature should be. I am also going to put some insulation on the drain pipe to prevent heat being lost from there. A great little addition to the Energy saving toll box.
Ron is now retailing Valvecosy™ in Streaky Bay. His details can be found on our "Where to buy" page.
April 2013 ABC Hobart Article
Great for Valvecosy™ to get a mention on ABC radio in Hobart.
April 2013 Pinterest
Wow this is pretty cool, Valvecosy™ has made it to Jennie's Pinterest list . It's great to see Valvecosy™ there with other examples of great design. Thanks Jennie!
April 2013 Renew issue 123
Renew issue 123 has a wonderful thermograph of the heat loss from a hot water service tank. The heat loss from the pressure and temperature relief valves shows up red and white (really hot!). They suggest the hot water storage tank might benefit from a Valvecosy™!
March 2013 Local Government Energy Efficiency Program Funding (LGEEP)
March 2013 Valvecosy's first Birthday
Valvecosy™ has its first birthday! Thousands of households are already saving energy due to the Valvecosy. Hip hip hooray!
March 2013 Renew issue 122
I was interviewed by the folks at the ATA as part of their member profile section in Renew 122. I talked about the development of the Valvecosy™ and about my thoughts around sustainability.
February 2013 Green Renters
Green renters published an article that we wrote on their website about how to minimise hot water service energy usage. Of course Valvecosy™ is mentioned! Green Renters is a small organisation doing a lot of work to educate renters about energy efficiency. Support them if you can!
November 2012 Housing Tasmania Energy Champions
Valvecosy™ was selected by Sustainable Living Tasmania as part of their solution for insulating exposed hot water service pipes for the Tasmanian Government's "Housing Tasmania Energy Champions’ program. It is a new energy efficiency program targeted at low income public housing tenant households across Tasmania aiming to provide eligible households with a home energy audit, a range of low cost upgrades and retrofits, education and a power savings plan.
The SLT home energy team offer a retrofit service to install Valvecosy™ .
October 2012 Grand Designs LIVE Melbourne
Valvecosy™ was featured as part of the product showcase at the Grand Designs LIVE Melbourne event. We hope Kevin bought a Valvecosy™ to take back to the UK :-)
September 2012 Hobson's Bay Leader
Valvecosy™ was featured in the Hobson's Bay leader (Yes that's me!). Following the article we had a good response from the local community.
July 2012 Newport Organic Collective
We were invited by the Newport Organic Collective to give a presentation at its AGM about Valvecosy™. We talked about the origin of the idea, the development process and the benefits of Valvecosy™. The presentation seemed well received. As we're based in Newport it was good to support the local community and speak to this thriving collective. If you'd like us to talk at your function please contact us.
July 2012 Energy Smart Workshop
Valvecosy™ was show cased as part of the Energy Smart Workshop run by ACT Sustainable Systems in Canberra.
July 2012 ACT Home Energy Advice Team (HEAT)
Valvecosy™ was submitted to the HEAT register of energy saving products.
July 2012 Renew issue 120
Valvecosy™ gets a mention on page 84 of Renew issue 120 as a easy way to save energy.
June 2012 Hard at work
Our new retailer Geoff Bensley from Byron Bay Electrical sent us a picture of Valvecosy™ hard at "work"? in Byron Bay.
May 2012 Sanctuary Magazine
Valvecosy™ is featured in Sanctuary Magazine 19 in the new products section.
Valvecosy™ is finally delivered to the world!
Our Valvecosy™ was presented at the Alternative Technology Association Melbourne branch project night. It was a good evening listening to and seeing the other presentations and good to see the interest in Valvecosy™. The ATA have been very supportive with our project.
In the beginning
Back in 2003 / 2004 I undertook a large energy efficiency retrofit at our home. New insulation in the ceiling, walls and underfloor, new double glazed windows, and a water tank plumbed to the toilet. Solar PV and solar hot water rounded off the updates. I was continually looking for ways to reduce our energy and water usage. One day I noticed that the pressure and temperature relief valve was very hot. Humm, it must be loosing heat there... so some insulation and duct tape later the heat loss problem was solved! Well not exactly, at a Solar house day event we had at our home it was pointed out that by insulating the valve in that way that I had effectively disabled the safety mechanism built into the valve. I had to think of a better and safer way. The quick fix was some foam I sculpted which fixed the issues, however it was not a particularly elegant solution.
The idea of creating a better insulator stewed away in the back of my head until in 2008 when my business partner and I decided to look at making a product based on the idea of insulating a hot water service pressure relief (PTR valve). The idea of Valvecosy™ was born. In order to be effective the Valvecosy™ had to work with many different types of valves, in different orientations and in different weather conditions. It had to allow the valve to operate safely and allow regular user inspections. It had to allow anybody to install it without tools. It had to be very efficient and look good. Not as easy as we thought. Many prototypes were developed and tested in the shed until we had a handle on exactly we needed to do.
We then worked with a very talented industrial desgner David Lugton to take our ideas into the basic form you see today. Thanks David!
Now that we had something that could be produced we set about figuring how to produce it locally at a reasonable cost. Finding materials and suppliers was a much more involved process than we imaged. It was difficult and we thought about scraping the project a couple of times. In the end we bought a CNC mill to turn out our own protoypes. This was one of the better things we did as we gained the ability to do 3D design and prototype manufacture. After a couple of false starts we were lucky to find a local supplier Polyfoam, who was willing to help bring the project to reality. The people at Polyfoam were and continue to be great to deal with.
On the graphic design front we were quite fortunate. We worked with a talented young designer Stephen Watkins to come up with the smiling Valvecosy logo. We're also indebted to my friend Harry Kontos who helped us with the packaging, instructions and website design as well various other materials. We sourced our printing and packaging materials locally in Melbourne.
By early 2012 all the pieces were put into place and we were able to fulfil our first order to the Enviroshop. The journey continues.
Thanks must go to our families who gave us the support in order to bring an idea to reality and to the many friends and people who have helped us along the way.
We hope that you enjoy your Valvecosy™ in the knowledge that you're helping to save energy, the environment and supporting local people who have ideas.
Christian Groves and Mark Hollis