Published on September 28th, 2008 | by Philip Proefrock2
Super-Effficient Water-Saving Shower
Showering is one of the major uses of domestic water. Showering is responsible for roughly 18% of indoor water use. But with a new kind of shower system invented in Australia, showering could, according to the manufacturer, use 4 times less water and save up to 87% of the energy used in typical showering.
Australia has been suffering through a drought for the last several years. Since 2003, most of Australia has been experiencing the most severe drought conditions on record. And Australia is the driest populated continent, which further exacerbates water issues there. So it’s not surprising that a super-efficient shower would come from Australia.
According to the Quench Showers brochure, “If we focus on Australia’s water position we are at crisis point. Being aware of this is a start, but more importantly, we all need to understand the crisis and take immediate action if we are going to influence change. Without changing the way we consume and manage our water usage in our day-to-day activity, this crisis will become a widespread catastrophe!”
So how does the Quench shower save so much water and energy?
The Quench shower is a complete modular shower enclosure with a built-in water recirculation system. Quench actually operates in two modes. When you first enter the shower, you quickly attend to cleaning needs, using as little water as necessary. In this mode, operation of the Quench shower is no different from any other conventional shower. This is why, for maximum efficiency, the manufacturers recommend washing and rinsing as quickly as possible. Nonetheless, with its low-flow showerhead, a 7 minute shower can use just 25 liters (6.6 gallons); less than 1 gallon per minute.
The efficiency of the Quench shower comes with what its manufacturers call the “hydrotherapy experience.”
“There is more to showering than simply ‘washing’. A lot of time is spent in the shower enjoying the hydrotherapy experience well after the washing process has been completed.
The hot flowing water – with its unique splashing sound – is hard to compare with any other therapeutic experience that is ‘so readily available’ to us all.”
After washing, the occupant switches showering modes from the conventional shower to its internal recirculating tank. Rather than running more water to enjoy a longer shower experience, the water is recirculated. The recirculation tank capacity is just 4 liters. This not only saves water, but, since the recirculated water is already heated, it requires very little additional energy to keep the water at the desired temperature. Furthermore, since it relies on the internal system pumping the water, once it is in recirculation mode, it provides good shower pressure even in areas where the local water pressure is low. The recirculation tank also includes a sanitizing system which is activated automatically after each shower, to maintain a clean water system.
Quench showers come either as the complete modular unit, or as just the hardware for installation in a fully custom-designed shower. The Quench shower is also designed to be affordable, though affordability is meant to be amortized over the life of a home loan, and payback for the system is calculated for a continent where water is expensive and scarce. Still, some North American customers, such as those with off-grid homes, or in drought-affected areas, may look into importing these systems for themselves.
Other Green Building Elements articles on water saving:
- Elements of Building: Water
- Hansgrohe to Bring Simple, Compact Grey Water System to U.S.
- Automatically Preheat Water to Save Energy
- WaterSense: The New Symbol of Water Conservation
- It’s Time to Rethink Tub Sizes
- 16 Unusual International Perspectives on Water
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