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Hot vs Cold Showers

Understanding the full Life Cycle impacts of our activity, allows us to make informed decisions about things we do in everyday life. As warmer weather approaches, we thought it would be quite interesting to look at how significant the temperature of our shower is, in environmental terms. As such, we looked at the ‘elements’ that make up a typical shower (quantities of soap, water and energy used in an electric shower for one person). We also looked at energy consumption involved for hot showers and types of savings that could be obtained in a setting where the shower was instead cold. We constructed LCA models relating to these and kept all variables constant except for the ones that will be affected by a cold shower.
As it can be seen from the figure below, cold showers can save up 3 times the carbon emitted in comparison to warm showers. This is due to the fact that a significant amount of energy used in a hot shower is used to heat the water up to an average hot shower temperature of say 41° Celsius. With cold showers, this significant energy burden is avoided and the energy consumption by the shower then is largely to do with pumping the water through the head. In addition, as the water is cold, one is likely to stay in the shower for a lesser amount of time, hence saving some water as well. This results in less water consumption, and less wastewater generated, which would otherwise need to go to a treatment plant and be treated appropriately. Over a whole year, the savings are equivalent to not driving a typical car for nearly 8 weeks! There are also reported health benefits of cold showers and cold water, extolled by wild swimmers, Dr Michael Moseley and the followers of Wim Hof (amongst others)! Not to mention the clear financial savings in energy and water bills – a win, win, win!

So in summary, could colder showers be more environmentally friendly? What do you think? Feel free to get in touch with our team to discuss any technical aspects of this blog!