TreeHugger is covering the INDEX awards, celebrating the idea of "Design to Improve Life". This post covers one of the 46 finalists chosen from 1,123 entries.
It's actually one of the best ideas I have seen in a long time. We show a lot of low volume shower heads (including one just a few posts ago) but they all work on the same principle that all showers have: use heated drinking water and flush it down the drain. We have shown heat recovery systems to reclaim energy from the shower. We have shown water filters that can clean water to drinking quality. But designer Mehrdad Mahdjoubi has put them all together in this brilliant idea:
Imitating the same technology used onboard spacecraft, the shower works on a closed-loop system that requires only five litres of water – about a tenth of what traditional showers use. Once initially used, the ‘waste’ water is collected from the drain, purified, and then recycled back into the in-flow tank. The shower also saves over 80% in energy consumption, as it doesn’t have to reheat the water each time it’s needed.
This makes so much sense. It's not like the water is that dirty; people collect it as grey water and reuse it in gardens. Just run it through a couple of filters and give it a bit of a heating boost and back it goes. No more miserable low flow showers, you can use as much as you want, because not much heat is lost and all the water is recovered. If someone pees in the shower or dumps a bottle of shampoo in, its detectors will flush it down the drain and refill with fresh water. I think it is brilliant.
There is a lot of engineering packed into this package that sits in the floor; if Derek was complaining about the $400 price of the Nebia shower he will totally choke on the € 3995 (US$ 4412) cost of the Shower of the Future. But look at what it does; it is estimated that it will save US$ 1,100 a year in electricity and thousands of gallons of water, and I never have to yell at my daughter to get out of the shower (and my living room) again because it is all a big virtuous circle. More at Orbital Systems.