Friday, May 16, 2008

5 Minute Showers

Last year W found a cool resource online. It turns out that if you are a customer of the Portland (Oregon) Water Bureau, they offer a variety of free water conservation devices. W went crazy and ordered a whole bunch of devices including a 5 minute shower timer. Of all the things he ordered, this was the one that confounded me the most. We put it up in our shower and occasionally, I would try to take a 5 minute shower. I never even got close! On a good day, I took a 10 minute shower!

But the shower timer continued to stare me in the face...and I kept thinking about how I could get to a 5 minute shower. It wasn't until I read about Jennifer Aniston's three-minute showers in The Green Book that I actually got serious about making a change. I mean, come on, if Jennifer Aniston can take three-minute showers, certainly I can do better than 10 minutes! She explains why she made the change in the book. Here is a quote:

"I found out that every two minutes in the shower uses as much water as a person in Africa uses for everything in their life for a whole day - drinking, bathing, cooking, and cleaning...everything!"

Think about that for a moment. A whole day's worth of water for someone in Africa going down the drain every minute we are in the shower. This may not inspire you to change, but it definitely inspired me.

How did I get down to a 5 minute shower? I changed the order that I shower and I cut my hair very short. I am happy to say that both these things got me under the 5 minute limit*. And do you know what I have figured out? If my shower is rated at 2.5 gallons per minute, and I cut my showering in half, I save 12.5 gallons of water every time I take a shower. I take a shower about 6 days a week (perhaps the next thing to work on?) which means I save 75 gallons a week. In a year, what will I save? A whopping 3,900 gallons! That is enough water to fill more than 10 hot tubs!

What about you? How long are your showers?

*Over sharing moment: I cannot get under 5 minutes if I am shaving my legs. But since that happens so infrequently (once per quarter?) I am not that worried about the effect it has on my water usage.


Vale said...

I got to a 4 minute shower today! yay!


Susanna a.k.a. Cheap Like Me said...

I keep meaning to time my showers and I haven't managed. I know I am pretty quick. In an emergency, I can be showered and dressed in 15 minutes, and my post-shower rituals take as long as the shower!

I think I came by it genetically. My mom showers so fast that she goes in the bathroom and comes out and you wouldn't even believe she had time to shower. (My husband, a marathon showerer, questions how clean she can get ... but she doesn't have BO so we'll leave it at that.)

Do you have a showerhead where you can push the button to turn the water down to a trickle? We have one of those and I use it while I shave my legs ... or turn the water off. I also catch my shower-heating-up water in a bucket, where I can rinse the razor -- which rinses the razor better than the low-flow shower spray does.

Anyway, kudos to you and happy showering!

Anonymous said...

Because of high water bills, I ordered our family to take 3 minute showers. I modified that to 3 1/2 minute showers and our bills have been cut in half. When other people ask how I cut my bill in half they are shocked with the answer. It works. And we actually set a timer so there is no cheating!