This water-saving shower head is low flow only when you are not under it
Water-saving showerheads get a bad rap, despite the fact that good design can keep water pressure high even though less comes out. (“If you’re like me, you can’t wash your beautiful hair properly,” former President Trump said in a rant two years ago before easing water efficiency standards; the changes were later reversed by President Biden.)
A new showerhead saves more water by sensing when you need maximum flow. Before entering the shower or when soaping up, the shower automatically slows down. But as soon as you move forward, it increases the pressure. “Often people think that saving water means a compromised experience, and that’s something we’re trying to change,” says Chih-Wei Tang, CEO of Oasense, the startup that designed the apple. smart shower, called Reva.
The designers, who began working on the project in a Silicon Valley garage, went through 41 iterations to create the showerhead. Knowing when someone was in the shower can be tricky in a damp, foggy room, so they needed powerful sensors to correctly detect when to adjust the water flow. The next challenge was how to power these sensors; the team ended up adding microturbines to the design so that water flow powers the device when someone is showering.
Up to half the time you spend in the shower, you may not be rinsing. If you step back slightly, the shower head reduces the water to 15% of the usual flow. For each shower, this can halve the total water consumption. For a family of four in California, this could save 1,000 gallons of water per month, as well as the energy used to heat the water, totaling about $250 in utility savings per year.
While the American West is going through the worst drought in 1,200 years, climate change is making extreme weather events of floods and droughts more common in other regions. Parts of the Midwest and Northeast are also experiencing drought now; more than 90% of Massachusetts is currently in drought conditions. Tang believes that the entire shower industry should move towards smarter technology. “I think this technology should really be a de facto solution for all showerheads in the future,” he says.