Climate change is threatening the availability, quality and quantity of water for basic human needs. In much of North America, showering is an activity that consumes significant water, as well as energy to heat the water. This study investigates the feasibility of an intervention that gradually decreases shower-water temperature to encourage shorter shower times, towards reduced water and energy usage.
The two parts of this work were performed over two academic years. The first part explored user acceptance in 23 study participants who underwent a shower while manually decreasing their own water temperature, as prescribed by a protocol. Immediately following the temperature-decreasing shower, participants were asked questions to assess their attitudes and willingness to use or install such a shower concept. Participants also completed questionnaires determining their regulatory focus and environmental attitudes, the effects of which on their attitudes about the shower concept are discussed.
Over 56% of participants were able to abide by the temperature-decreasing showering protocol. Out of 23 participants, only 3 found the temperature-decreasing shower experience to be negative, 12 were neutral, and the remaining 8 found the experience to be a positive one.
Given this result, the second part of the work implemented a microcontroller-based system that automatically controls shower temperature, pressure, and duration. This system is described and simulations are used to project the resource-saving potential of the concept.