Beyond the flow rate: the importance of thermal range, flow intensity and distribution for water efficient showers

Kemi Adeyeye, Kaiming She, Ines Meireles

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Studies show that user behaviours have not necessarily changed, despite the prevalence of water-efficient products in the market. One reason is because the technical emphasis for delivering the water use efficiency of products has focused on reducing the flow rate. Therefore, this study was undertaken to examine the physical parameters that define the technical efficiency of showerheads against the experiential performance (and therefore the satisfaction with the showerheads). These parameters were measured in a controlled laboratory environment and the findings were triangulated against user feedback from in-home trials. Synergies between the laboratory data and user feedback were found. Notably, it was found that water spray intensity, distribution, and temperature loss all impact the quality of showering experience. These factors also influence shower duration—and thus the volume of water used in the shower. Significantly, these technical metrics affected the overall experiential performance of such products from the users’ perspective. Therefore, the design of water-efficient showerheads, in addition to delivering water discharge savings, should avoid poor spray distribution, intensity, and heat retention. The implications of the findings are that water efficiency labelling and product standards should extend beyond the emphasis on limiting the flow rates—typically to 9 l per min for showerheads. This study shows good merit for including the spray intensity (pressure), distribution, and degree of heat loss, in addition to the discharge rate, as part of the performance and efficiency considerations of showerheads.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-21
Number of pages21
JournalEnvironmental Science and Pollution Research
Early online date30 Dec 2019
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 30 Dec 2019

Keywords

  • Flow distribution
  • Temperature
  • Showerheads
  • Water efficiency
  • Water labelling
  • Water user

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology
  • Architecture
  • Building and Construction
  • Urban Studies
  • Human Factors and Ergonomics

Cite this

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abstract = "Studies show that user behaviours have not necessarily changed, despite the prevalence of water-efficient products in the market. One reason is because the technical emphasis for delivering the water use efficiency of products has focused on reducing the flow rate. Therefore, this study was undertaken to examine the physical parameters that define the technical efficiency of showerheads against the experiential performance (and therefore the satisfaction with the showerheads). These parameters were measured in a controlled laboratory environment and the findings were triangulated against user feedback from in-home trials. Synergies between the laboratory data and user feedback were found. Notably, it was found that water spray intensity, distribution, and temperature loss all impact the quality of showering experience. These factors also influence shower duration—and thus the volume of water used in the shower. Significantly, these technical metrics affected the overall experiential performance of such products from the users’ perspective. Therefore, the design of water-efficient showerheads, in addition to delivering water discharge savings, should avoid poor spray distribution, intensity, and heat retention. The implications of the findings are that water efficiency labelling and product standards should extend beyond the emphasis on limiting the flow rates—typically to 9 l per min for showerheads. This study shows good merit for including the spray intensity (pressure), distribution, and degree of heat loss, in addition to the discharge rate, as part of the performance and efficiency considerations of showerheads.",
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