Monday, April 27, 2009

The Navy Shower

On Earth Day I decided it was time to try a Navy shower. What is the Navy shower? Essentially it is an approach to taking a shower to reduce the amount of water used. Here is how it went for me. I started the shower and waited about 10 seconds until the water was at a temperature I could tolerate. I then hopped in and got my hair and body wet. Then the painful step- I turned off the water but remained in the shower. Surprisingly it was not nearly as cold and uncomfortable as I expected. With the water off I applied some shampoo to my hair and soap to my body. I turned the water back on and rinsed the suds off and I was done. Under 1 minute of water usage. I glanced at the shower head and noted it used 1.6 gpm. I used under 1.6 gallons of water to shower. I used more water when I flushed the toilet.

My experience was positive. I felt good about saving water and it was something I could do in the future. I don't think every shower will be a Navy shower but maybe one per week.

Shower length at Lasell College is a behavior we would like to modify as part of our Green Initiative. URI has found some interesting results in regard to shower length and college students. Students surveyed spent an average of 13 minutes in the shower. Campaigns to reduce shower length were ineffective. Surprisingly campaigns were effective in reducing the number of showers per week. Students reduced the number of showers from 8 to 6.8.

The results of the study made me think about how many showers I need to take each week. I rarely shower on Saturday or Sunday but I do shower each morning before leaving for Lasell. I don't shower in the evening so I would say I average between 5-6 per week. In the summer this dips to probably 4-5. You don't need to be clean to go do field work.

Results from behavior modification initiatives are very useful. Other schools our using our experience from trayless dining and single stream recycling to inform their initiatives. Next fall we can take the results from URI and launch our own campaign to reduce the number of showers per week.

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