Space travel offers little room for waste. Space travel demands efficiency. So if astronauts go for years without a fresh supply of water and they shower from this recycled source, Swedish industrial designer Mehrdad Mahdjoubi, asks “Why do we not do the same on Earth?” Not only does Mahdjoubi ask this question, he resolves this for us.
Water is a primary environmental concern on Earth today. “Water is more important than oil. The close relationship between water and energy can no longer be ignored,” the CEO of Masdar said in January. Designers such as Mahdjoubi address our relationship with water, preserving our priceless water.
Mahdjoubi’s design design dramatically lessens the amount of water needed for a 10-minute shower to a mere 5 gallons. Say what? Normally it takes about 150 gallons for a 10-minute shower! His design recycles the warm shower water, thus conserving water and energy. His design also improves the quality of the water, so one’s shower even more hygienic.
According to Mahdjoubi speaking on CNN, this is the one-line concept behind the OrbSys Shower: a high-tech purification system that recycles water while you wash. In the eyes of Mahdjoubi, we should start doing it now, before it becomes a necessity.
From CNN: “So how does it work? Similar to space showers, it works on a ‘closed loop system:’ hot water falls from the tap to the drain and is instantly purified to drinking water standard and then pumped back out of the showerhead. As the process is quick, the water remains hot and only needs to be reheated very slightly. As a result, it saves more than 90% in water usage and 80% in energy every time you shower, while also producing water that is cleaner than your average tap.”
This is great for the Earth’s water supply and amazing savings for your pocketbook, as well. “According to research carried out by his company, Orbital Systems, these savings translate to at least €1000 ($1351) off your energy bills each year.”
The happy trial in Ribersborgs Kallbadhus, a coastal bathing house in Sweden, proved a demanding testing ground and was met with success. However, the heart of this work, explains Mahdojoub, is much deeper: “If deployed on a bigger scale, the purification technology developed for OrbSys could be used in taps and drinking fountains in the world’s developing countries, where water-related illness is rife. ‘Everybody should save as many resources as possible,’ says Mahdjoubi, ‘but obviously these showers would be even more beneficial for people living in areas with water shortages.’ ”
“I want to get it to as many people as possible. That’s the next step. It’s not just about saving water. The motivation is to be smart about how we use our planet’s resources.”
There is desperate need for something this hopeful. Stefanie Blendis and Monique Rivalland for CNN write: “According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), 1.2 trillion gallons of water are used every year for showering in the United States alone. And yet, rather disturbingly, across the world more than three times the population of the States lacks access to any clean water at all.”