So a huge reason showers, especially long showers, use a lot of water is that the water is only used once before it goes down the drain, but what if we had the option to reuse the shower water for each session? Fill an internal reservoir or the tub with just a few litres of water, and use a pump to recirculate it, with electronic controls for when to drain the water. It could be like a dishwasher: use one round of water for the main washing that actually gets the grime off, and then a little bit more fresh water to rinse completely clean. Something like this could also allow you to take as long a shower as you want or have one of those massaging showers with a rain head and like ten body sprays, and still use less water than with a conventional shower. A panel would control when the water is replaced and when the recirculation is disabled (for example, when using soap so soapy water doesn’t spray back into your eyes). I think something like this would go a long way toward reducing household water use.

jonuno
link
9
edit-2
2M

Although the idea of reducing water usage has its value, there are 2 points I would discuss briefly.

First is that showers or household water waste are not that a big of a problem, we are led to think we should reduce use (I agree we all should) and that will make a big difference (I disagree, it won’t). It is the industry ways that completely overwhelm water waste. And individual can have way bigger impact in the thousands percent by changing the consumption relationship with said industries, for instance by changing diet and transportation habits. (i.e.“One Hamburger is 2,400 litres of embedded water”; “37.8541 litres of water to make a single computer chip”; etc…)

Second, is this fallacy of most eco-products. For the common person, your idea is an appealing idea - it is apparently fixing a problem. But, if your product catches on and sells a lot, the amount of resources used to produce a shower that has a pump and electronics and whatever systems it needs, it would outweigh the amount of water being saved in the long term.

Just like we are being told that electric cars will save the world, if you look at the real impact of sourcing what is needed, you will see it is hurting the planet further.

We are trained to think that we can buy our way out of problems - a systemic problem. And we keep feeding that system by buying into the idea that if we buy all these new eco friendly stuff we are helping the planet, but at the end we are just buying the idea, the illusion to make ourselves feel good amongst others through our aparent better choices, while the real water wasters benefit with our eco anxities.

@AgreeableLandscape
admin
creator
link
42M

Second, is this fallacy of most eco-products. For the common person, your idea is an appealing idea - it is apparently fixing a problem. But, if your product catches on and sells a lot, the amount of resources used to produce a shower that has a pump and electronics and whatever systems it needs, it would outweigh the amount of water being saved in the long term.

Good point, haven’t thought of that.

I guess this is the same debate as the plastic bag vs cotton bag thing, where plastic bags generate tons of non-biodegradable waste, while multi-use cotton bags require so much energy in comparison that you have to use it in place of thousands of plastic bags to break even energy wise, and the cotton bag probably won’t even last long enough to make that possible.

jonuno
link
42M

Yes, using what we already have is often the greenest option.

I really liked to read about this certain eco brand where they did not use Instagram to advertise their product because the platform itself promotes fast consumption and it was against the whole point of the brand. If you are a truly eco brand you should be also advocating for people NOT to buy your product (sounds counter intuitive!) only if you really need it and after trying repairing what you have or buying used (Patagonia brand tries to come across like this; Fairphone tells you that the greenest phone is the one you already have, etc). This is also why the vision of the future we should have is this scrappy low tech place instead of flying cars and such.

But keep having ideas! The world needs it. I v seen at least a couple of concepts of showers with that system already, and quite fancy, but perhaps you could come up with a low tech one ( have you seen the camping outdoor showers?). Also look at the many solutions of graywater reuse. The ones I really like are home made solutions like someone connecting the shower water to their flusher, or to a pipe that goes to their indoor vegetable garden…

poVoq
link
52M

Except of those rain type shower heads, normal showers actually don’t use that much water at all. The problem is the heat that is put into the water. Recirculating would help a bit (but you still need to reheat), but is IMHO not worth the disadvantages that come with this.

In commercial settings (swimming pools) it is quite common to have heat exchangers that recuperate the energy from the water that goes into the drain.

The water itself can better be mixed with other grey-water and reused for other purposes like washing cloth or watering plants etc.

But if you feel like you really want to tackle both the energy and water consumption at the shower level then this is probably the best idea: https://www.lowtechmagazine.com/2019/10/mist-showers-sustainable-decadence.html

@AgreeableLandscape
admin
creator
link
3
edit-2
2M

I think greywater recycling is definitely the future, maybe in addition to this, maybe not. Also, greywater reservoirs provide a huge thermal mass for heat/cooling storage, and/or providing ambient energy that a heat pump can tap into, similar to ground source heat pumps.

@gun
link
1
edit-2
2M

I knew I’d heard of this before. I know there are some expensive ones with built in filters

@ksynwa
link
22M

You can just use a bucket of water to take a bath and reduce water consumption by 90%. May not work for very cold weathers MAYBE but should work of a majority of the people.

poVoq
link
2
edit-2
2M

Having actually done that for a long time I can tell you that this doesn’t safe that much water (maybe 2/3rd if you really use minimal water) compared to a short shower, and is less effective in cleaning and much less comfortable to do.

But on the plus side, this is more realistic to do with (relatively) cold water and that saves a lot of energy.

Edit: I think people overestimate how much water a shower uses. Try filling a 10 liter bucket with your normal water saving shower head and see how long that takes.

@AgreeableLandscape
admin
creator
link
52M

Another idea I got from posting this on Reddit is to turn off the shower when applying shampoo or other soap, as well as scrubbing. Kind of like how you’re supposed to turn off the tap when brushing your teeth.

@Echedenyan
link
3
edit-2
2M

Wait a moment, is it normal for most people outside to maintain the shower turned on while they are applying shampoo or soap??

Wtf.

@AgreeableLandscape
admin
creator
link
3
edit-2
2M

It’s the absolute norm in North America at least, and yeah it kind of sucks.

@AgreeableLandscape
admin
creator
link
22M

Also, in my shower/tub, the temperature control is for some backwards reason correlated with the water flow control (there is only one knob that turns along one axis, and it goes from off, cold, warm, hot), the effect being that it’s impossible to get a low flow with hot water, and you have to readjust the water temperature every time you turn the shower/bath back on.

poVoq
link
12M

That might be related to your electric water heater, some need a minimum flow to get activated (for safety reasons).

@AgreeableLandscape
admin
creator
link
1
edit-2
2M

I don’t think so. I live in a townhome/apartment complex which has a central water heating system with big ass natural gas powered tank heaters (not even the high efficiency condensing types as far as I know), so water flow is probably not a problem.

poVoq
link
12M

Maybe then it is just a “feature” to prevent yourself from accidentally have too hot water and burn yourself?

@AgreeableLandscape
admin
creator
link
12M

I don’t know honestly. Not an expert on faucets lol

@yxzi
link
12M

Simpler solution: A Navy shower only takes 30 seconds shower to get wet, soaping the body while the water is off, and is completed by another 30 second shower to rinse the soapy water.

@leanleft
link
12M

could be used for off the grid

Green - An environmentalist community
!green

    This is the place to discuss environmentalism, preservation, direct action and anything related to it!


    RULES:

    1- Remember the human

    2- Link posts should come from a reputable source

    3- All opinions are allowed but discussion must be in good faith


    Related lemmys:

    • 0 users online
    • 2 users / day
    • 19 users / week
    • 33 users / month
    • 125 users / 6 months
    • 867 subscribers
    • 380 Posts
    • 773 Comments
    • Modlog