Water is becoming a very scarce resource worldwide and many experts believe the 21st century could see water wars in place of the land or resource wars from recorded history. Municipal authorities use the thumb rule of 100-150 liters per person per day for planning of domestic water supplies. A five minute shower uses up as much as 20 liters and in hot and humid climates, two showers a day would account for 25 percent or more of the day’s planned usage leaving insufficient water for other needs including toilet flushing, washing, cooking and drinking.
Designers worldwide are attempting to find ways on economizing on water usage during a shower. These eco friendly shower options not only reduce water consumption but some of them also recycle water and save electricity (for hot water showers) . These are worth considering for any eco-conscious home owner.
Eden Mist Shower
Most shower heads direct a heavy stream of water on the body , much of it flows past and into the drain. The Eden Mist , designed by the New South Wales industrial designer Alemina Vranes uses an aerator to convert water into a fine droplets that covers the person in a mist. The shower head is easily adjustable to the height of the person and there is a heater system that converts the water mist into steam when a hot water shower is needed. The heating of small droplets stores water, reduces the electricity needed. The Eden Mist uses only 1 liter of water per minute which is significantly lower than the consumption in conventional showers. The Eden Mist is designed with stainless steel and die cast powder coated components for good appearance.
Eco Drop Shower
The Eco Drop shower by designer Tommaso Colia uses a bath mat like device on the floor under the shower head. The concentric circles are comfortable to stand on initially. As the shower starts, the concentric circles start to rise making it uncomfortable to stand on. Further the sharper center pieces rise and press uncomfortably against the sole compelling the shower user to check water usage. The floor mat device is made of a material that expands under the pressure of the body weight in the presence of water. This device could be useful in public shower places like swimming pools, gymnasia where people spend too long a time and cause inconvenience to others waiting to use the facility. Of course, this purpose could also be served by a simple timer on the water supply.
An Eco-Shower Equipped with Water Filtering Plants
The Eco-Shower designed by Jun Yasamoto, Alban Le Henry, Olivier Pigasse and Vincent Vandenbrouck regenerates gray water by mimicking the nature’s phyto-purification process. The drain water from the shower is channeled to a sand bed on which reeds are planted along with aquatic plants like water hyacinth and lemnes. The grey water gets filtered first in the sand where the major contaminants are removed. The water passes through the roots of the reeds where the bacteria get removed and the water comes out purified and recycled. The water hyacinth and the aquatic plants help breakdown and absorb the contaminants in the sand. The system, of course, also needs sunlight for the plant cycle to work limiting its use to outdoor locations like swimming pools.
The Fog Shower
The Fog Shower, conceptualized by designer Joao Diego Schimansky of Brazil for the Electrolux Design competition 2007, is similar to the Eden Mist shower as it uses droplets of water for the shower instead of a stream. The droplets are created by ultrasonic heating and then forced through perforated metal plates. An intelligent sensor responds to the shower user’s body movements to direct the water droplets where the user needs it. This system is said to use only two liters of water for a five minute shower. The use of ultrasonic heating reduces the electricity used in heating water.
Pensar Indulgence Shower
Pensar Development , a Seattle based design house has innovated this indulgence showerthat has a “rinse-mist-rinse” cycle. When the user enters the shower, he gets one minute of water flow as in a conventional shower, followed by 4 minutes of mist created by heated water droplets and stops the shower again with a two minute water flow rinse. The saving of some 56 percent of water and energy happens in the four minute mist cycle. The cycle times are adjustable to suit individual preferences.
Smart Shower saves water and harnesses waste heat
The Smart Shower is a shower cubicle of 1 meter diameter and 2.2 meter height that also uses an aerator to convert water into droplets for water conservation while showering. In addition it has a heat- exchanger at the base that recovers heat from the hot water used in the shower to raise the temperature of the incoming cold water. This heat exchanger helps save up to 50 percent of the energy in heating the incoming water. In addition, the shower cubicle is designed with attachments for other bathroom uses such as baby bath, hair rinsing, hand washing of clothes etc. that use hot water.
Visible Shower Tank Helps Visualize Water Use
This minimal form design by Frank Guo simply uses a transparent water tank that tells you clearly how much water you are using in the shower which would help promote water conservation. The same tank also feeds a hand wash basin and a bidet. The temperature controls are built into the side of the transparent tank to complete a visually elegant design.
Shower Brake puts a brake on shower time to conserve water
This Shower Brake designed by Sang-in Lee and Dae Hyun Kim uses visual feed back to promote water conservation. The water quantity to be used is determined by pulling up the shower controller that is mounted over the water pipe to the shower head. As the showering continues, the controller falls in level giving a visual feedback to complete the process before the water stops. It is possible, of course, to pull the controller up again but that clearly signals to you that you are wasting water. The controller shaft also has settings for water temperature and pressure to complete a very useful attachment.
DA / Spa Shower
The DA/Spa Shower is a stand-up shower area shaped like a bubble where the water used is continuously recycled into the top and side shower heads to provide a spa like water massage. The recycled water is continuously filtered and kept at constant temperature and pressure. The recycling helps to keep the water usage to the 20 liter level of a conventional shower, but has the added advantage of the massage feature. The energy usage in heating water and pumping are the obvious negatives.
Self-powered “Eco Shower” saves energy and water
The Eco Shower designed by Victor M. Aleman uses pedal power to operate, combining a mild exercise routine into the daily shower. The water for the shower is stored at the base. When the user steps on the base made of wooden blocks, the water is forced up into the overhead tank. As each wooden block goes down, a cylindrical metallic rod is exposed making the user change his position to another wooden block in a continuous dance step like pattern. The water that is forced up into the overhead tank drives a turbine and the electricity produced heats the water for the shower.