For the years, the argument for taking a shower over a bath has made sense: showers use much less water, therefore they are better for the environment as well as your utility bill. However a new study conducted in the UK by Unilever found that modern power showers actually use twice as much energy as a bath, and some people even use twice as much water.
The study revealed that while the average bath uses 80 litres of water, extended shower times (as well as more powerful systems) can use up to 136 liters in just 8 minutes. For the average four person household, this equates to a staggering 200,000 liters of hot water per year at a cost of £918 in water and electricity. In comparison, non-power showers, which use less water only run up costs of £416 a year. The worst news is that power showers represent 20 percent of the market, and this number is increasing.
Unilever’s study, which is the first of its kind, researched over 2,600 showers in 100 households in order to accurately measure water usage. The results may change how the more eco-minded of us wash. Water usage has gone up all around the world, despite concerns about recommended use levels. It is estimated that in the UK, the average person uses 150 liters of tap water per day – an increase of 30 liters since the 1970s.
Speaking to The Independent, Jacob Tompkins, managing director of Waterwise, said “showers are an increasingly large part of the mix in terms of the amount of water we use. The energy associated with heating water in the home is about 5 per cent of UK CO2 emissions and it’s around a quarter of energy bills.”
However don’t go running the bath just yet. “While we’d still recommend switching from baths to showers, we suggest not to switch to a massive shower with a pump on,” Mr Tompkins said. “Also, if people can cut down on their shower time, that has an impact.”