STANFORD UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF EARTH SCIENCES - EARTH SYSTEMS PROGRAM

Sustainable Choices

Take Shorter Showers

Simplicity:
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Carbon Impact:
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Money Savings:
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Health Helper:
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Overview
We all know the feeling—it’s time for a nice, hot, relaxing shower. Well, starting now you can also think of your shower as a tool for helping the environment. There are a couple main reasons for this: 1) water is a scarce resource and our use affects not only other people but also other species; and 2) hot water requires energy—generally fossil-fuel based—to be heated and maintained. So taking a shower every day can affect the health of ecosystems, water supplies for our communities and farms, and climate change. Thankfully, there are some easy things you can do to help!

Tips & Tricks
Take a short shower instead of a bath. A 5-10 minute shower uses less water than a full bath tub. If you are going to use the tub, plug the drain immediately and adjust the temperature while it fills.

Install a more efficient shower fixture. Efficient fixtures maintain that high, feel-good pressure while lowering the amount of water used. If you don’t have one already, check it out at your local hardware store.

Shower during the warmer part of the day and use cooler water. Showering during the heat of the day is a great way to reduce your hot water consumption. The warmer the surrounding air, the less need you’ll feel to crank up the heat. Who knows, you might even feel like cooling off.

Shower in bursts. Get wet, turn off the faucet to lather, then turn it on again to rinse.

Web & Print Resources
General water-saving information:
www.epa.gov/WaterSense/water/simple.htm#full
www.h2ouse.org/

Learn about water conservation issues:
www.nrdc.org/water/default.asp

Water Sense quiz:
www.epa.gov/WaterSense/quiz/index.htm

Low-flow shower fixtures:
www.eartheasy.com/live_lowflow_aerators.htm

Fun Facts

Taking a 5 minute shower uses 10–25 gallons of water, while a full tub requires about 70 gallons. Source

The average family of 4 uses about 400 gallons of water per day. That’s enough to fill 6,400 drinking glasses. Source

Studies predict that global climate change will cause water shortages for much of the world—partly due to earlier snowpack melting. Source