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Monday, April 20, 2009

Showers: Cutting Back Saves Energy

Short showers cut back on natural gas or electricity, and save water too

When I was a kid, my Uncle Jack--an ex-Navy man--first introduced me to the concept of the Navy shower. It was simple. He'd shout -- in this incredibly loud voice -- "Hey, Butt Brain! Stop wasting water!"

I'd be staying over at his house during summer vacation and in the shower for 15 or 20 minutes. At my home I was used to long, hot showers.

Uncle Jack didn't know it then, but he was talking to me about energy efficiency.

He did know that he was talking to me about lowering his utility bills. In those days, money was still money, and waste was still waste!

A Navy shower is a two-minute shower that cut water usage back enormously. Mainly, it's the hot water that's being cut back.

That can really slash the water-heating portion of your utility bill. One article I read suggests showers represent two-thirds of all water heating costs. The remainder involves dish and clothes washing.

A typical ten minute shower can use up to 60 gallons of water. Almost all of it hot. That's about all the hot water in a typical water heater tank (in my house, we have a 40 gallon water heater).

A so-called Navy shower uses only two gallons of water.

Here's how you do it:
  1. Just turn on the shower, get wet and then turn it off.
  2. Lather up, shampoo the hair, shave, and so on.
  3. Then turn it on and rinse off.
I admit a Navy shower in the summertime is a lot easier when it's warmer. On a cold winter's morning, it can be a serious challenge.

One way around this, is a low flow showerhead.

You can stay in the shower longer and use less water after you install a low-flow shower head. These can be purchased at a fairly reasonable price, they are easy to install, and they can generate a strong enough stream of water to get the soap out of your hair.

If you’re not shy, then shower with a friend. You’ll be doubling up on the amount of hot water you use, and helping to save yourself some money.

Here's a page of shower heads you can by:
Low Flow Showerheads

And just for fun: a shower with a friend tee-shirt, retro-Seventies style:

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