Take an 'air shower,' save water

A new shower nozzle design uses 50 percent less water but feels like a shower with full water pressure.

Living more sustainably usually means making personal sacrifices. If you drive an electric car you don't have the same range as gas-powered cars (because of a lack of changing infrastructure). Maybe you set the heater at a low temperature, even during cold winter days, to save energy. And using less water in the shower means low water pressure or shorter shower time. But a fascinating new shower head design uses 50 percent less water than a traditional shower head without feeling like you're making a sacrifice for sustainability.

Felton, a New Zealand-based company, collaborated with The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) -- Australia's national science agency -- to develop the Oxijet nozzle, or "air shower," which adds air to the water flow to make the shower feel like one with full water pressure.

"Traditional flow restrictors reduce flow and pressure, whereas Oxijet uses the flow energy to draw air into the water stream, making the water droplets hollow," said Jie Wu, a fluids specialist at CSIRO, in a statement. "This expands the volume of the shower stream, meaning you can save the same amount of water, while still enjoying your shower."

As with many innovations, this one came about through challenges faced by Australians. Currently all Australian states have are under water restrictions or permanent water efficiency measures. And the cost of water use is going up for residents.

Australian hotel Novotel Northbeach will be the first to use the shower nozzles on a large scale. After testing the product, the hotel expects to see big savings without sacrificing quality by making the switch.

"With over 200 rooms we go through over 10 million litres of water per year, so any saving we can make is very important," Walter Immoos, General Manager of Novotel Northbeach. "We've found our customers prefer Oxijet over other 'low flow' shower heads, because it gives the illusion of full water pressure."

[Via CSIRO]

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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