Shower power

Take shorter showers

James Bond took cold showers to 'harden himself up' and the Spartans thought warm water was for the weak and unmanly. Machismo aside, there are loads of reasons to take shorter, cooler showers: saving time, money, water, energy and improving your health.

On average we spend 8 minutes a day in the shower, making up about 25% of our water usage5 and costing the average family up to £918 a year.1

Why

Here are a few reasons to take action.

Click for more info or scroll to read them all.

Water

Whilst water is everywhere – it covers 70% of the Earth’s surface and it seems to fall from the British skies endlessly – most of it is either salty or is locked away in our ice caps. Only 0.007% is available for drinking,2 and we use a lot of that precious 0.007% in our showers.

Even if you live in a famously wet and rainy country like United Kingdom, water is a precious resource that we shouldn’t flush away needlessly. Thanks to high populations and high water use, even the UK is often subject to water shortages - making it the 8th most water scarce country in the EU.3

The average Brit's daily shower can easily use twice as much water than a person in Africa uses in a whole day.4 That's mind-blowing, right?

104 litres

of water are used during an 8 minute power shower.5

Time

Just think of the time you’ll save if you shorten your daily shower to three minutes.

A few minutes may not sound like much on paper, but spend it on stretching, yoga, press ups, journalling6 or reading could make a significant difference to how you feel for the rest of the day.

Or of course, you could spend a few more precious moments in bed… the choice is yours!

Health

Many people swear by the health benefits of taking a cold shower, the list of benefits is looong: improved circulation, increased metabolism, reduced anxiety and depression, reduced pain, healthier skin and hair, strengthened immunity and increased energy and well-being.7

With a list of possible benefits that long, it's worth a go, no?

Money

Showers account for about 25% of domestic water use; cutting shower time by just one minute would save British households £215 million on energy bills each year.9

Long showers cost up to £70 per person, per year.8 And that’s just the cost of water before you heat it.

You’ll really notice a difference if someone in your household is aged 18-24, as they shower for 11 minutes on average!5

It's simple; shorter, cooler showers mean money in the bank.

Climate change

It’s easy to see how hot water uses energy at home. What’s less visible is the energy required to treat water both up and downstream of your home. In fact, the UK water industry produces 5 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions each year.10

Heat and use less water and you’ll save energy and carbon, whilst protecting the environment and future water supplies.

Global Goals

In September 2017, a historic agreement was signed by UN member nations agreeing to work towards 17 Global Goals for Sustainable Development by 2030, otherwise known as the SDGs.

Achieving these ambitious goals will require action from governments, businesses, NGOs, and individuals alike. We can - and must - all play our part.

By making the 'Shower power' pledge, you are contributing in your own small way to the following SDG targets:

6.4: By 2030, substantially increase water-use efficiency across all sectors and ensure sustainable withdrawals and supply of freshwater to address water scarcity and substantially reduce the number of people suffering from water scarcity.

6.b: Support and strengthen the participation of local communities in improving water and sanitation management

12.8: By 2030, ensure that people everywhere have the relevant information and awareness for sustainable development and lifestyles in harmony with nature

13.3: Improve education, awareness-raising and human and institutional capacity on climate change mitigation, adaptation, impact reduction and early warning

How

How

This one isn't rocket science, but there are a surprising number of tips and tricks for how to keep your shower short, sharp, and as environmentally friendly as possible.

  1. Be cool: Turn the heat down, take a slightly cooler shower. End each shower with a cold burst to boost your health.
  2. Tune in: To help you keep your shower to 2 - 3 minutes, we've put together this Spotify Shower Power playlist. One song per shower - can you do it?
  3. Time it: If music (or our music taste) doesn't do it for you, get yourself a free shower timer from Save Water Save Money.
  4. Turn down If your boiler or cistern allows, turn down the water temperature so your shower can’t get so hot in the first place.
  5. Stop it: Try turning the water off in the middle of your shower, Navy style. Turn the water off to lather up, then pop it back on to rinse off.
  6. Flow it: Power showers use a huge amount more water than traditional showers; for the same powerful effect with half the water usage, invest in an aerated or low-flow shower head.
  7. Share it: Yep, you read right. Share your showers with your loved ones and half your water use. Just remember to keep it short!

Success Stories

2,701

Pledges
in total

42,191kg

CO2
pledged

This pledge made me much more aware of my time in the shower. I managed to reduce most of my showers to 5 minutes, except when washing my hair, although I made a habit of turning the shower off whilst lathering and conditioning my hair.

I wouldn't totally say I've saved up a lot of water in shower lately but I have tried it most times. I just turn the shower to wet my body and turn it off to scrub my whole body before I turn it on again to wash off the soap. I would always ensure I had just enough to wash off the soap and turn it off. I have tried using a song to make me aware of timing as well sometimes.

I reduced my showers when taking them at work which was easy enough as I'm normally in a hurry to get to my desk! At the weekend it was more difficult.

Found it quite easy and was obviously just dilly dallying before :)

Mostly what this has entailed is me taking less showers... which might sound bad, but went unnoticed by me and the people around me!

I reduced the length of my showers by switching the shower off while I was soaping myself or applying shampoo and conditioner. It's easily done and makes a real difference to the length of your shower. I also am taking cold showers, which saves on heating the water and helps with not staying in the shower too long! Takes a bit of getting used to but certainly wakes you up and leaves you feeling refreshed :)

Really easy change to make!

My showers are definitely shorter, but maybe not always 4 minutes shorter. I will keep on keeping on though!

I found this easy to maintain almost all of the time. The challenge was after playing hockey when I was particularly cold and used the shower to warm up! I think this will therefore be harder in winter!

Introducing short cold showers has made a positive impact on me.

I put on my music on before the shower and try to keep it to one song only! Most of the time I was successful, other days was slightly longer but definitely less that 10 minutes.

I will definitely continue! It made me realise how i can still smell beeeeautiful with less pampering time! Woooo!

Encouraging family to do the same!

5 minutes is definitely fine for a shower! Sometimes I slipped over the mark, but tried to keep to this as much as possible. Definitely helps to have some kind of timer to help keep focus!

when I wasn't washing my hair I managed to do this with success!

I think I could do this more easily in the summer but with such a cold winter, staying in the hot shower was too tempting!

Played a 3min song every day and was able to complete my shower and wipe it down before it ended most days.

I really love a long shower, so this was really hard for me. I will endeavour to shorten my showers even further in the future.

I washed my hair every 3 days instead of every 2 days, which made a huge difference.

Challenging at first until it became totally normal.

It's probably helped that the weather is warmer. During Winter getting out of the nice hot shower might be a bit more of a challenge...

Easy as apple pie.

I even got the family on board to have quicker showers and as a result our water meter reading is lower and our monthly bill reduced :)

Made me realise I really don't need to be in the shower as long - get slightly longer in bed and helping save water / energy at the same time!

I've definitely reduced the heat and am consciously taking shorter showers.

It was agood way of saving water; quite easy as well!

Cutting back to just 5 minutes in the shower has been pretty awesome I now have way more time in the morning.

Realised don't need to have such long showers, so am more conscious of time and amount of water used now. :) Will definitely stick to new regime.

The only way I could achieve this is to set my alarm later so I have no choice but to jump in and out!

I'm usually in a rush anyway, however, used to leave shower running before I got in - made me more aware of not leaving it on too long before!

References

  1. Edie.net (2011)
  2. National Geographic
  3. European Environment Agency
  4. Average daily water use per person in Africa is 47 litres (FAO). The average UK shower is 8 mins (Edie) . Water flow of typical showers varies between 6 and 13 litres / minute Water.org.
  5. Water.org
  6. Michigan State University
  7. Medical News Today
  8. Thames Water
  9. The Guardian
  10. Environment Analyst

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