Real-time Feedback Helps Save Energy and Water

People who take long showers use a great deal of water and energy. Yet those who enjoy taking long showers do not usually realise to what extent they are damaging the environment. However, if a clever measuring system shows current consumption, this immediately leads to increased efficiency.

A recent study has shown that consumption information available on a display is incentive enough to reduce water and energy consumption when showering on average by 22 per cent. The study was conducted by the Universities of Bonn and Bamberg, as well as ETH Zurich.

“Most people only have a very vague idea of how energy and water intensive showering is,”

says Prof. Lorenz Götte from the Institute of Applied Microeconomics at the University of Bonn.

“Many people think of switching lights off and more economical fridges when they think of saving energy. The average household in Germany and Switzerland consumes five and a half times as much energy when showering as for its entire lighting and four times as much as for the fridge and freezer together.”

Due to the energy intensity of heating water a great deal more could be achieved in this area, and the shower is an ideal starting point, because it’s where more than two thirds of a household’s hot water is required.

Smart systems show current energy and water consumption. If the test subjects received immediate feedback via the measuring systems, energy consumption when showering fell on average by 22 percent. For people who take long showers, the savings even came to almost 30 percent. The study also showed that the smart systems supported lasting behavioural changes.

Photo credit: http://www.colourbox.com. Material used in the preparation of this article has been drawn from idw – Informationsdienst Wissenschaft.

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