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Saving water while out of the shower

roadrunner.jpg

According to my wife, among my most obnoxious green peccadilloes is letting the water run while the shower is warming up.

We have long pipes from our hot water tank to the shower and it can take a few minutes to get hot water in the morning. As a consequence, my hectic morning routine often has me reading email while steam pours from the bathroom. Shameful: heating water consumes tremendous amounts of fossil fuels, and, especially in California, water is energy. My wife often takes these opportunities to remind me I work at TerraPass.

Clearly an intervention was required.

A new offering from the TerraPass store that I’ve been testing does the trick quite nicely. The Roadrunner is a handy little combination of a low-flow showerhead (1.59 gallons per minute) and a “ladybug” — a temperatures sensitive valve that shuts off the water when it reaches 95° F. So turn the water on and go do your email. The ladybug valve will shut off the flow when the water gets hot. Get in the shower, pull a simple cord to restart the flow, and enjoy a warm green(er) shower.

Installation was simple. Less that a minute with a monkey wrench and my green task for the day was done. We also sell just the ladybug, which you can attach to your current showerhead.

As part of my test, I installed the Roadrunner without telling my wife about it. She proved her green superiority by asking, “Why does the shower go off about a minute into it?” Apparently, some people don’t wait for the water to heat up before getting in.

Now, we could do even better if we had instant-on hot water, or if I cut showers down to Victorian-era norms. Or even captured the waste water for plants like one of my colleagues. But I’ll celebrate the baby steps on this journey and just pause for a daily moment of morning smugness.

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