The following excerpt is from CNN.com’s ‘Futuristic water-recycling shower cuts bills by over $1,000’, by Stefanie Blendis and Monique Rivalland. Youtube video, “Futuristic water recycling shower cuts bills by over $1,000”, published on Nov 12, 2013
In space, astronauts go for years without a fresh supply of water. Floating in a capsule in outer space they wash and drink from the same continuously recycled source. So why, asked Swedish industrial designer Mehrdad Mahdjoubi, do we not do the same on Earth?
This was the 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.
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 shower head. 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.
“With my shower, which is constantly recycling water, you’d only use about five liters of water for a 10 minute shower … In a regular shower you would use 150 liters of water – 30 times as much… According to research carried out by his company, Orbital Systems, these savings translate to at least €1000 ($1351) off your energy bills each year.
Mahdjoubi proposed the OrbSys shower while studying Industrial Design at the University of Lund in Sweden. His concept formed part of a collaborative project with NASA’s Johnson Space Center, which looks to drive design concepts that could potentially assist space expeditions…
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.
The concept of a water-saving shower is by no means a new one, but when CNN’s Blueprint team caught up with Mahdjoubi at his offices in Malmo, southern Sweden, he explained that because it doesn’t compromise on comfort, it’s different to the rest. It has a higher than average water pressure and a very stable flow because, unlike conventional showers, it works independently from other appliances …
At the bathing house, CNN introduced Mahdjoubi to Danish industrial designer Nille Juul- Sørensen, who recently designed Malmo’s Triangeln train station. Juul- Sørensen was keen to talk about the wider potential of Mahdjoubi’s design: “My interest is not in the objects but in the system. There will be so many applications for this.”
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.”
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The Global Water Footprint of Humanity
Angela Morelli is an Italian designer. She gained her MA in Communication Design with distinction from Central St Martins, where she specialised in Information Design. Her first degree was in Engineering from Politecnico di Milano and she has an MA in Industrial Design from Milan. She has collaborated with a number of research and commercial organisations in Europe and works as a Graphic and Information Designer. She is based in Norway.
The Global Water Footprint of Humanity is her final MA project, based on research carried out by Unesco and The University of Twente in the Netherlands, and awarded Honorable Mention for Outstanding WOrk at the INDEX:|AIGA Aspen Design Challenge Designing Water’s Future.
Angela Morelli – The Global Water Footprint of Humanity
Angela Morelli is an Italian information designer based in London. Her love of mathematics led to an engineering degree from the Politecnico of Milan. Her love of design led to a long journey through industrial, communication and information design. Her love for the planet led to a strong passion for global water issues. Her love for science led to dialogues and collaborations with research and commercial organisations in Europe.
She believes that bringing about change is not an easy task and it can only follow from a true understanding of a problem, from awareness and reflection. Design has a vital, irreplaceable role to play in achieving this understanding through empathic thinking and emotional intelligence.
Posted in Conservation, Educational, Environmental concerns, Global awareness, Nature, Precious Resource, Science and Technology, Video, Water, Water conservation
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