Concept Reminds You Not To Water Hog

You know the “Your Speed” signs that flash how fast you’re going as you drive by? Traffic engineers overwhelming agree these so-called driver-feedback devices are the most effective technique for slowing traffic. Which is why Dan Kidwell’s Eco-Tunes Water Saving Music Player might be a pretty darn good idea.

Kidwill has imagined a device that hooks into your showerhead and — visually and audibly — provides feedback intended to inspire water conservation. As you wet, suds up and rinse, an LCD screen suctioned to the wall, just like a shower caddy, displays water-use data. You can see the running total in liters, or enter a preset amount and have the device tell you how much time remains before you reach that level.

 Eco-Tunes Water Saving Music Player, Dan Kidwell

image via Dan Kidwell/Coroflot

Meanwhile, as you use more water, the volume of the music rises and the color of the LCD goes from a calm green, to a middling orange and finally to a raging red. Then the music stops playing. That’s when you’ve gone too far, you water hog.

In his design, Kidwill suggests 35 liters (just over 9 gallons) as a shower limit. With an old showerhead churning out around 5 gallons per minute, that’s a very hasty session. Then again, maybe an Eco-Tunes Water Saving Music Player would inspire more of us to adopt low-flow heads — they bring the flow rate as low as 1.6 gallons per minute, and that translates to five or six luxurious minutes in the shower.

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Pete Danko is a writer and editor based in Portland, Oregon. His work has appeared in Breaking Energy, National Geographic's Energy Blog, The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle and elsewhere.