It is awfully hard to change learned behavior. Once people get used to do something one way, especially if they do it very regularly, it is hard to get them to change. It is often easier to change the non-human parts of the system than it is to change human behavior.
We’re seeing this a lot with environmental issues. You can tell people driving cars is bad for the environment, but it is difficult to stop them from doing it. Especially in the US, the whole city system is set up for cars. It’s easier to change the cars to be more eco-friendly than it is to get people to stop driving.
And it is just as true for mundane things as well. As John Thackara points out in In the Bubble, it’s not evil corporations ruining the world, it’s us leaving on lights, taking showers, using laptops. But that behavior is hard to change. It’s easier to get fluorescent light bulbs or LEDs than to seldom turn on lights. And now, a solution for showers.
Here’s the process most of us go through with our showers: 1. Turn the water on. 2. Wait for it to get hot. 3. Get in. The problem is that step two wastes a lot of water: two and a half gallons per minute, in fact. Evolve Showerheads partially solves this problem. Rather than have a gusher while the water is hot, their showerheads slow the water to a trickle when the water reaches 95 degrees, thus ensuring very little hot water flows down the drain. According to them, this could “save a yearly average of 2,700 gallons of water, the fossil-fueled energy it takes to heat it—and up to $75 off your utility bill.” Not bad.
Of course, an even more efficient solution is to have the hot water heated up on-the-fly so there is no warming up time at all, as some showers I’ve used in Europe do. But that requires a significant investment in money and effort, not just switching your existing showerhead. For now, this is a decent solution to a eco-problem most of us weren’t really aware of. Small steps towards a better world.