Aside from building a coal-fired power station, the thing that activates your brain's climate-guilt gland the fastest is taking a luxurious bath. Unfortunately, using a shower isn't that much better for the planet, which is why Dutch startup Hamwells has built the ultimate in eco-washing facilities. The company is showing off its first-generation e-Shower here at TechCrunch Disrupt, and the device does for showers what Dyson did for vacuum cleaners: makes it an object of desire. There's just one downside, and that's how much you're going to have to spend to own one.
The biggest difference between the e-Shower and its brethren (aside from the fact that there's an extra E in the name) is that it recycles water. As opposed to a regular shower, the unit hoovers up the liquid that pools in the bottom of the shower tray, filters it, warms it back up and pumps it out the top again. According to the company's Eric van Duin, the same droplet will be cycled through up to seven times before being discarded, with only 15 liters of fresh hot water being added to each cycle. That translates to an 80 percent reduction in gas or electricity use and a 90 percent reduction in the amount of water used.
It works by drawing up the water from the dray and passing it through a solid filter that sits just above the plughole. From there, it's run under a UV filter that should kill any lingering bacteria and other such aqueous nasties before being mixed with up to 1.5 liters of fresh hot water to being it back up to temperature. In terms of servicing, the only thing that you'll have to do is run a bottle of diluted vinegar through the pipes once a year to clean out any accumulated limescale, as well as rinse out the filter at the bottom of the tray every now and again,
The technology doesn't stop there, either, since the whole front panel of the device is also a Bluetooth speaker. Simply connect your phone to the unit before you get in and you'll be able to enjoy the morning radio or Spotify playlist of your choice. Four buttons on the side of the display will also let you activate / deactivate the shower, also letting you have granular control of the water temperature. The companion app for iOS / Android also does the usual things that such services offer, like letting you gamify your showering and make you feel smug about how much money you'll save each morning.
Of course, you'll have to feel smug about the money you're saving, because this device will cost you a pretty penny: €2,950 ($3,190). The firm promises that you'll make that money back after around five years, but that's a lot of shower compared to what you can pick up in your local branch of Lowe's. That, unfortunately, doesn't stop me from wanting one, although I'll have to wait until I win big on the tables before I pick one up. If you aren't troubled by that sort of money, then you can pre-order one now for shipping next June.