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Taking The Green Route: Why Showers Are More Eco-Friendly
Normally the worst time to be talking about global warming is the middle of winter. While Britain might have recently had its warmest New Year’s Day on record, January is normally a cold month and the idea of an overheating globe will not be the first thing that comes to mind when the icy pavements are slippery and the lawn is white with frost.
However, with COP26 still fresh in the memory, it is worth thinking about how you can make your bathroom more environmentally friendly, a significant element of which is your shower.
Of course, there is a background element to consider: Simply heating your water uses energy, like all your other household appliances, so it is certainly true that the means by which your power is generated matters. But that is also something beyond every householder’s direct control.
Although Britain now uses very little coal in energy production, gets over a fifth of energy from nuclear power and is a world leader in offshore wind, the fact is that, at present, half of electricity is generated by burning natural gas.
That’s a problem both for the environment and because of the high world price for this form of energy amid low supply levels, on which Europe has a perilously heavy reliance on Russia with all the political problems that this brings.
Speaking before COP26, Boris Johnson pledged that the UK would get all its energy from renewable energy or nuclear power by 2035, but that still leaves over a decade of burning fossil fuels to go.
What can be helped, however, is the amount of energy used to start with and how efficient this is, as well as other resources such as water.
A key question is whether you should use a shower instead of having a bath. Of course, for much of the time the choice is driven by practical considerations; showering is quicker and therefore the more practical thing to do in the morning and whenever else time is short, while a bath can be a chance to luxuriate and relax over a more extended period of time.
However, when given the choice, it is clear that a shower is the much greener option. It uses less water and also less energy.
The first of these considerations may not seem such an issue in our climate; even in dry summers such as 2018 we have not been hit with severe droughts, and higher winter rainfall may be a significant consequence of climate change.
However, the difference in energy use is stark. Wildlife Trust figures note that showering uses between six and 45 litres of water, whereas a bath typically uses 80 litres. The latter might not empty the reservoirs, but it does mean the energy taken to heat up a larger amount of water will, by definition, be greater.
According to the Energy Saving Trust, there are cost savings to be had from showering instead of bathing. It calculates these as including a £45 annual saving for keeping shower time down to five minutes, while £7 a year could be saved by switching one bath for a four-minute shower per week.
For many people, these figures may not seem like a great deal spread over a year. But that lower cost is a result of using less energy to heat the water, so the benefits go way beyond anyone’s purse or pocket.
Establishing that showering is significantly better for the environment than bathing will please people who are keen to make their lifestyles work better for the planet. But of course, that should not mean skimping on a bit of comfort and luxury; we don’t all have to be green activists living in tree houses.
That means that when the shower takes centre stage, it might as well be a really nice one, with stylish, attractive and practical shower hardware. Indeed, one of the contributions our products can make is that they are all durable and made to last. Not only does that have the practical benefit of meaning parts don’t need replacing often; it also saves the energy involved in manufacturing them.
It is also important to think how the practical fits with the environmental. Take, for example, the aforementioned benefits of restricting shower times to four minutes. To get the full benefits of a shower over this time, shower heads should produce a powerful spray, offer the flexibility to be directed in the right directions and have sensitive temperature controls.
All this means that investing in high quality shower facilities is not just about style, luxury and day-to-day practicality. It also means that you can double these benefits by keeping yourself wonderfully fresh and clean while looking after the planet at the same time.