Shower Time at College

Challenge #2: Staying Warm for Winter.

Unfortunately, it seems that both the thermal leak detector and the electrical monitor I was to receive as part of the San Diego Zoo’s Green Family Challenge kit were taken off of my front porch, so this blog post leaves me a little limited for Challenge #2. I enjoy picturing the look on the thieves’ faces: an unwatched FedEx box, ripe for the taking. “Anything could be in there,” they thought to themselves. “Video games! Books! Movies! Mixed nuts!” Imagine their surprise when they opened it to find conservation materials. But, I digress, because fortunately, a few days before, another interesting conservation gadget arrived on my doorstep.

Upon opening the small brown box, I found that it contained a circular object with two entry points on the top and bottom and absolutely no buttons, levers, or gizmos on the outside whatsoever. I knew what it was, a shower timer, but eventually became surprised at both how easily the little device works and how easily it installs. The shower timer lets you know how long you’ve spent in the shower by cutting the water level by two-thirds, both acknowledging that now is the time to get out and establishing that if you decide to remain in the shower, you don’t really get to enjoy it. Both help establish a habit of saving water.

Since I live with three other college-going gents, I was more than a bit wary of adding a device that limits shower time. It’s not that any of us are prolific shower-takers necessarily, but sometimes it’s good to…whatever the shower equivalent is of “soak.” And in the mornings when it’s cold and dreary, the last thing you want is to have the shower shut off (which is almost what it does) when you’re already mighty confused about being awake. But I talked about it with them and, to my surprise, none of them really cared and were actually pretty interested.

The shower timer has three settings: 5, 8, and 11 minutes, which are changed by a small magnet that came with it. One beep is 5, 2 beeps is 8, and 3 beeps is 11 minutes. So far I have opted for the 11-minute shut-off time, but as time goes on (and I make an effort to notice/ask about how long my roommates spend showering) I’ll probably move it down to 8 minutes. I have always been a short shower taker, so none of this is an issue for me. As for the guys, none of them have said it’s a problem so far. I find it essential to talk about things like this, which might impede on the overall convenience factor for other people, even if it’s great for the environment. I like to think that living with other people should be more like an oligarchy than a totalitarian regime.

It’s obviously too early to tell, but in future updates I will try and include the discrepancies between January and February’s water bill. Though I don’t expect to see a significant reduction at the moment, changing the setting to eight minutes might make a significant impact. I will have to discuss this with the council.

Until next time.

Michael Kranz

Read Michael’s previous post, Going Green on a College Budget.

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