A couple of weeks ago when I wrote about the continuing Californian drought, my friend Bernard Naylor commented that in many cultures people had adapted to a climate in which rainfall was scarce.
And he mentioned in particular ‘the Danish style’ of showering. He wrote:
Bermuda was settled by the British in the early 17th century. The island has no rivers or springs and is dependent entirely on rainfall. For hundreds of years, every building was required to be constructed over a cistern (to hold its water supply) and roofed so as to maximise water collection. People are encouraged to shower ‘in the Danish style’. That is,
- You wet yourself all over,
- then SWITCH OFF THE SHOWER.
- You then soap/wash yourself,
- and finally run the shower again to wash off the soap.
This struck a chord with me because I remembered reading that when Proctor and Gambol investigated the carbon footprint of their shower gels, they found that the carbon emissions arising from heating the water for the shower was massively more than the carbon footprint of the products themselves.
So over the last few weeks I have been giving Danish-style showering a try, and it is surprisingly pleasant.
- Firstly, the soap lathers much more easily than when the shower is continuously running and this is very pleasurable.
- Secondly, because the lather is so much thicker, I think I use less soap/gel than I did previously.
- Thirdly, I think I spend less time than I used to in the shower. The simple act of consciously switching off the water somehow interrupts the dreamy warmth of the showery idyll.
- And finally, I am saving a tiny amount money
My shower – which is typical of UK showers – uses about 7 litres of water per minute. (How do I know? I just measured it using a timer and a jug).
If the water is heated from 10 ºC to around 40 ºC (a hot shower) then pausing for just one minute saves approximately a quarter of kilowatt hour (882,000 joules) – which currently saves about a penny if the shower is gas powered, and between two and five times that much if the shower is electrically heated.
So this is a little thing that saves a little money and a little water. But it is actually quite pleasant.
Care to give it a go?
edaviesmeuk commented (below). How could I not have heard of this before!