Step One: Time yourself taking your “normal” shower.
You don’t need a stopwatch—just a clock that displays seconds, a sheet of paper, and pencil. Position the clock or watch so you can read it as quickly as possible after you turn off the shower but a safe distance away from accidental shower spray.
1. Turn on the hot water and write down your start time, which is the moment you turned the knob.
2. Take your “normal” shower just as you have been doing all along.
3. Look at your clock the moment you turn off the water and write down that number as soon as you have dried off.
4. Subtract your end-time from your shower start-time to find out the length of your “normal” shower. (While subtracting, remember that there are 60 seconds and not 100 seconds in a minute.)
5. Repeat timing your “normal” showers once or twice more. Find the mean average of those times.
6. Once you know the average length of your “normal” showers, record your results.
Step Two: Practice taking Great Showers.
1. Watch the Great Shower Quick Review Video available for free as many times as you need to remember the steps for taking a Great Shower.
2. Over the next several days, time yourself taking Great Showers using the same overall timing method you used for your “normal” shower. Remember to write down your results.
3. In addition to your overall Great Shower length, you will need find how many minutes the water is actually on:
4. Any time you turn the water off during your Great Shower, start counting out loud—One thousand one, one thousand two, etc. Pause your count when you turn the water back on.
5. When you turn the water off a second time, start your count from where you left off. This will give you a total number of “water-turned-off” seconds.
6. Subtract your “water-turned-off” seconds from your total shower length to find the actual number of minutes that water was running during your Great Shower.
7. It will require some practice to become good at taking Great Showers. Be sure to get thoroughly clean each shower but also see if you can beat your previous day’s time. Log in and report your new Great Shower results.
Step Three: Measure your shower’s flow rate.
Optional step. May require parental assistance. To omit this step, use instead the average American shower flow rate of 2.1 gallons per minute (gpm) (7.9 lpm).
1. You will need a PLASTIC gallon water pitcher with a wide open top that is large enough to collect all the spray from your shower head. DO NOT use any glass or ceramics in the shower.
2. Find the one gallon level of the pitcher and make a small pencil mark (that you can later erase) on the outside of the pitcher. Place the mark on the side of the pitcher so that it still measures approximately one gallon even when the pitcher is tilted.
3. Turn on the cold water and attempt to collect the full spray of your shower head. Hold on tightly to the pitcher so that you don’t drop it on your foot!
4. Empty the pitcher and start again while timing how many seconds it takes to fill the pitcher with water. You can count it out loud—one thousand one, etc. Stop your count when the water reaches one gallon.
5. Repeat timing again and until your results remain the same.
6. Erase the pencil mark with a clean eraser.
7. Find your shower's flow rate amount, which equals the gallons of water flowing per one minute (gpm). Record your results.
Step Four: Compare the difference.
1. You now know your shower’s flow rate and you also know how many minutes of running water you have reduced from your showers. How much water are you saving per shower? Per year?
2. Find out how much energy you are saving. Use this special online calculator to determine your own shower's energy usage at the Pays to Live Green website.
3. How much of your time are you saving? For example, let’s say that you cut your 20-minute shower down to only seven minutes—start to finish. (20 - 7 = 13 minutes saved.) That frees up about 80 extra hours every year. (13 x 365 days = 4,745 minutes. 4,745 / 60 = 79.08 hours.) That’s like getting two weeks of extra vacation! How many extra hours will you gain in one year? Log in and record your findings.
Step Five: Share your success.
1. Compare your findings with other students in your class. See your combined water/energy/time savings that your class has accomplished together.
2. Compare your class results with other classes. See your combined class results per year and projected over your lifetime. See what you and students from around the planet can accomplishing just by taking smarter Great Showers.