Metering device helps shame heavy shower users

2014-08-26 08:00

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Bamberg - A polar-bear figure that seems to melt when a bathroom user has spent too much time in the shower could help cut consumption of water and energy, researchers at Bamberg University in southern Germany believe.

During the shower, the device assesses how much hot water is being used.

"Of course it only meters the water throughput, although the main issue is the energy used to heat that water", says Thorsten Staake, a lecturer in business information and energy efficiency.

The device dubbed "Amphiro A1" is attached to the shower hose.

"It works like a mini power station, drawing its energy from the flow of water by means of a turbine", Staake says.

The metering device progressively shows the amount of hot water consumed in litres since the start of the shower, and afterwards the energy consumed in kilowatt-hours, along with the amount of water.

The display includes an outline sketch of a drawing of a bear standing on an ice floe which diminishes during the shower. The drawing shames the user with a reminder that heavy energy use is blamed for climate change and the gradual decline in Arctic ice.

The invention was tested over the course of two months in 700 households in Zurich, Switzerland, with a total of 46 000 showers analysed. European countries are rich in water, but poor in energy.

The research team found that on average 46l of water were used during a four-minute shower.

According to Staake, heating water consumes on average 2 000kw-hours a year, making it the second-largest item on a northern European household energy bill each month after space heating.

According to the analysis, shower water is generally heated to 36°C on average, and people between the ages of 20 and 29 spend longest under the shower.

The new meter could cut the length of showering by 20% in a one-person household and by 24% in a household with more than one resident.

Read more on:    germany  |  switzerland  |  water  |  conservation

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