Sustainable showers

An innovative, smart device that provides real-time feedback during showers substantially reduces shower length. Randomised and covert field experiments led to a 14% reduction in shower time in tourism accommodations (where guests are not financially constrained by water and energy costs), and up to 27% when persuasive messages were added. That meant savings of about US$48, 4.44 m3 of water, 0.19 MWh of energy, and 33 kg of CO2 per room/year.

As result of that study, an ESRC postdoctoral fellowship was awarded to Dr Pablo Pereira-Doel to continue this line of research. New experiments in halls of residence to foster shorter showers among students are in progress. Students take longer showers (around 12 minutes) than the general UK population (6-7 minutes). Initial results indicate that real-time feedback led to a 15-20% reduction in shower time. When messaging encouraging selfless pro-environmental behaviour were added to the real-time feedback, a 32% reduction in shower time was achieved. The next phase of the project is underway with refined messages to optimise the environmental savings in water, energy and carbon emissions, contributing to the UK’s Net Zero Strategy.

Dr Pablo Pereira Doel and Professor Xavier Font

School of Hospitality and Tourism Management

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