Shower Power Part 1: Andrew's Experience

Written by Guest Blogger
    Wednesday, 16 April 2014
Shower Power Part 1: Andrew's Experience

Here at the Urban Ecology Center, we're celebrating the Earth all month long with different events, activities and programs that highlight earth-related themes. This week, let's focus on our Riverside Park branch theme, WATER. Not only are we excited about this topic, but two of our amazing volunteers also wanted to get in on the action.  Two volunteers, Andrew and Patricia, took on their own water-themed experiement over the past week to see just how water conscious they could be!  Each volunteer tracked their shower water consumption and wrote about their experience. Read on to get some interesting insight on what they discovered!

shower timesAmericans today are using more water than ever before. On average, according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), American households use roughly 400 gallons of water a day, 16.8% of that being in the shower. This translates to 67.2 gallons that we use to scrub our bodies and wash our hair. Curious about my own personal shower habits, I timed my showers for a week and was actually a little surprised by the results. I had assumed that my showers were somewhere close to seven to eight minutes, but I found my average shower time to be 5 minutes, 20 seconds long. The table to the right shows my shower times throughout a week and the respective gallons used. 

Over the course of the week I used an average 10.94 gallons per shower, and the times shaded in light red are those that were above the recommended time of five minutes flat. It is recommended that showers be roughly 5 minutes long, which uses an eco-friendly 10.23 gallons of water.  After seeing that I had hit six minutes on my third shower, I tried to shorten them a bit, but a couple of them were still a bit lengthy. If all my showers had been six minutes long, I would have used around 87 gallons all week; by cutting down to my average, I saved almost 11 gallons! I used 76.5 gallons all through the week. The nation-wide average shower is about 8 minutes long, which uses a little over 16 gallons of water (http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-15836433). If people could somehow cut even 30 seconds out of their showers, this could save thousands of gallons of precious water nationwide.

Things people can do to save water range from small things like just being a bit quicker while washing or not letting the water heat up for so long, to more complex things like investing in water-saving showerheads and more efficient water heaters. Water is becoming more and more scarce in today's society and little things like managing water use in the shower (and the rest of your house) can really go a long way. I chose to partake in this experiment as a way to help people realize the importance of being efficient with water, and so people could see that they can help out by doing simple things around the house. This experiement also helped me put my own water use in perspective and see exactly what I was using. I would highly recommend that people do something like this around their house / work, just so they can see how much water they're using and try to cut a little of it out or be a little more efficient. Water is arguably one of the most important things on the planet for every living thing, and we as humans can do our part to be more water conscious!

This blog post was written by Andrew Jungbluth, who is an active volunteer at the Urban Ecology Center who enjoys promoting the Center and its programs.  Don't forget to read the part two blog post from volunteer Patricia to see what she learned from her Shower Power experiment! 

Interested in learning more about this earth-related theme, or about all our Earth Month programs and activities? Check out our website for all the details and upcoming events.

Thank you to our Earth Month Sponsors North Shore Bank, Godfrey & Kahn S.C., Hayat Pharmacy and our media sponsor 88nine!

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