Showering is fun, but it does rack up the water bill. The average family goes through 40 gallons of water a day in the shower.
We've come across a few ways to monitor and manage showers recently, including this simple warning device. But Mehrdad Mahdjoubi's solution is more comprehensive. It's a water-saving design that is included from the ground up, not as an add-on.
The OrbSys is an all-in-one unit that recycles water at your feet, cleanses it to drinking quality, then returns it for re-use. Mahdjoubi says a 10-minute shower uses only five liters (1.3 gallons) compared to a standard 150 liters (40 gallons). It also saves 80% in energy costs, because the recycled water remains warm and doesn't need much reheating. Orbital Systems, the company developing the product, says a San Francisco family taking two 10-minute showers a day could save $731.72 a year.
Mahdjoubi came up with the idea while studying at the University of Lund in Sweden, before setting up with an incubator in Malmo. He's since worked with NASA (which is interested in less water-intensive ideas for space flight) and received investment from Niklas Zennström, the founder of Skype. Orbital installed its first showers at a communal bathing house near Malmo this summer.
In an interview with CNN, Mahdjoubi said he wants to sell the OrbSys around the world (including places that are particularly water-short), and develop other closed-loop systems, say for fountains.