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Power Shower Featured on Apr 10, 2008
Knock 2 minutes off your daily shower time. Do it for a month. Use a timer to stay honest!
Reducing your shower from 8 minutes to 6 for a month will reduce CO2 emissions by a total of 15.3 lbs, and energy costs by $1.32.
9923 people have reduced CO2 emissions by 70.7 tons by completing this challenge so far. That's equal to turning off the electricity of 68 homes for about 1 month!
For the older Rallyers on the network, the pleading commercial refrain of “Calgon, take me away!” brings to mind idyllic thoughts of a suds-filled bathtub where cares melt away and time itself stands still. Well, that was then and this is now. Thirty years later, it’s the daily shower that fulfills the same type of therapeutic relief for many of us. It’s the shower that calms us down and lets us focus our thoughts before we strap on the battle armor to take on another day. The problem is, your long morning shower has a big, wet carbon footprint.
This Featured Challenge was suggested by lawhoo2001, leader of the Paco’s RIC Carbon Fighters. To date, lawhoo2001’s suggestion has received 10 positive votes in the Challenge Workshop. Rally on, you carbon cavalier!
The Carbon Connection
It takes energy to heat your water tank and keep it hot. As you use hot water, more energy is needed as cold water is piped in to replenish the tank. The energy used by the hot water tank likely comes from electricity or by burning natural gas. And unless your electricity is coming from a renewable source like wind or solar, heating the water in your tank is inextricably linked to the burning of fossil fuels and the emission of greenhouse gases.
According to the EPA, running a hot water faucet for 5 minutes uses about the same amount of energy as burning a 60-watt bulb for 14 hours. So, limiting your demand for heated water can really cut-down your energy use and CO2 emissions.
Getting It Done
We know it’s hard to keep track of time while you’re basking warm water, especially in the morning. So, using a timer might be a good way to stay honest on this Challenge. Plus, using a timer means you’ll be keeping track of minutes enough to know you can shower a little longer on those tough mornings and then make up for it with a shorter shower the next day.
There are lots of timer options. You can dig up an old digital watch and leave it in the shower. You can borrow a cooking timer from the kitchen or even buy something basic. (Read the timer label in the store. Egg timers are very simple, but only run for three minutes!)
Do you already take short showers? If you haven’t already, you might want to consider swapping your current shower head for a low-flow type. Like older cars, older shower heads are guzzlers. Pre-1992 shower heads can use twice the water of current ones. If you’re not sure whether or not your shower head is a “guzzler,” you can cut the top off a gallon container and time how long it takes for your shower head to fill up the container. If it fills up in less than 20 seconds, you should consider buying a new, low-flow shower head. The newest models use only 1 to 2 gallons of water per minute.
Rules of the Challenge
This Challenge asks you reduce your daily shower time by two minutes. On average, that means reducing your shower duration from 8 minutes to 6 minutes. Taking a shorter shower each day for 30 days will reduce your CO2 emissions by 15.3 lbs for the month. This Challenge is repeatable.
See the Math
Here are the key assumptions we made in creating this Challenge:
- In the United States, the average shower time is 8 minutes.
- The average shower of 8 minutes uses 12 gallons of water with an older style shower head and 10 gallons with a low-flow head. We averaged this to 11 gallons of water per 8 minute shower.
- We assume you are showering once daily.
- Heating 1 gallon of water generates, on average, 0.18 lbs of CO2.
- Reducing an 8 minute shower by 2 minutes is a 25% reduction in time and water volume. A shorter shower decrease hot water use by 2.75 gallons per daily shower.
- Not using that 2.75 gallons of hot water (and thereby not heating 2.75 extra gallons of water) translates into 0.51 lbs of CO2 saved per day.
- Repeating this savings for 30 days results in a total CO2 reduction of 15.3 lbs for the month.
- The average energy cost to heat one gallon of hot water is $0.016. This 30-day challenge saves you 82 gallons of hot water and about $1.32.
Speed it up, Rallyers! And keep it clean.
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