Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Real-time feedback helps save energy and water

08.02.2017

Study by the Universities of Bonn and Bamberg: consumption when showering can be reduced by 22 percent

Those who take long showers use a great deal of water and energy. Yet people who enjoy taking long showers do not usually realize to what extent they are damaging the environment. However, if a clever measuring system shows current consumption, this immediately leads to increased efficiency.


The measuring devices are fitted below the shower head. They allow water consumption, water temperature and energy use to be seen at a glance. © Photo: Liliane Ableitner/University of Bamberg


The research team with the measuring device (from left): Prof. Thorsten Staake, Dr. Verena Tiefenbeck and Prof. Lorenz Götte. © Photo: Thorsten Staake/University of Bamberg

The consumption information available on the display is incentive enough to reduce water and energy consumption when showering on average by 22 per cent. This was shown by a study conducted by the Universities of Bonn and Bamberg, as well as ETH Zurich. The results have initially been published online in the journal Management Science. The print edition will be published soon.

Environmental protection is very popular within society, yet it is often lacking when it comes to implementation. Many want to protect natural resources, but lose sight of the aim in everyday life – for instance, when showering. When you stand underneath a pleasantly warm jet of water, you quickly forget how much water and energy have already disappeared down the drain.

“Most people only have a very vague idea of how energy- and water-intensive showering is,” says Prof. Lorenz Götte from the Institute of Applied Microeconomics at the University of Bonn, who previously taught in Lausanne.

“Many people think of switching lights off and more economical fridges when they think of saving energy. The average household in Germany and Switzerland consumes five and a half times as much energy when showering as for its entire lighting and four times as much as for the fridge and freezer together,” says the lead author Dr. Verena Tiefenbeck, who researches at the University of Bonn as well as at ETH Zürich.

Due to the energy intensity of heating water and the as yet unexhausted saving potential, a great deal more could be achieved in this area, adds Prof. Thorsten Staake, chair of the Energy Efficient Systems Group at the University of Bamberg. “The shower is an ideal starting point, because it’s where more than two thirds of a household’s hot water is required.”

How can the greatest amount of energy be saved when showering? For the three scholars from the Universities of Bamberg, Bonn and ETH Zürich, this concerns a very applied and also fundamental question of how resource-relevant behavioral changes can be brought about. In multiple experiments, a total of 700 one- and two-person households in Switzerland received intelligent systems from Elektrizitätswerk der Stadt Zürich (ewz) to measure their energy and water consumption when showering.

Smart systems show current energy and water consumption

The measuring devices were fitted below the shower head. They allow water consumption, water temperature and energy use to be seen at a glance. “These smart systems give the agent direct feedback about the consequences of their own showering behavior,” reports Prof. Staake. The measuring devices recorded the showering behavior of the subjects for around two months. A randomly selected proportion of the subjects was able to track live on the display how much energy and water they had used since the start of their shower, while other participants were not shown this information.

If the test subjects received immediate feedback via the measuring systems, energy consumption when showering fell on average by 22 percent. For people who take long showers, the savings even came to almost 30 percent. In a further investigation, the researchers tested whether additional saving behavior occurs when the test subjects received subsequent feedback on their previous consumption. “This subsequent information resulted in virtually no additional effect,” says Dr. Verena Tiefenbeck.

Nevertheless, the study into shower use shows that lasting behavioral changes occurred during the two months of the experiment. Summarizing their findings, professors Götte and Staake say, “Even over the course of weeks, no desensitizing effects were seen among the subjects.” Dr. Tiefenbeck adds that “The desired saving effects were just as great at the end of the observation period as at the beginning.”

Publication: Overcoming Salience Bias: How Real-Time Feedback Fosters Resource Conservation, Management Science, Publication on the Internet:
http://pubsonline.informs.org/doi/full/10.1287/mnsc.2016.2646

Media contact:

Prof. Lorenz Götte
Institute of Applied Microeconomics
University of Bonn
Tel. +49 (0)228/739284
E-mail: lorenz.goette@uni-bonn.de

Prof. Thorsten Staake
Energy Efficient Systems Group, University of Bamberg
Tel. +49 (0)951/863 2077
E-Mail: thorsten.staake@uni-bamberg.de

Dr. Verena Tiefenbeck
Department of Management, Technology and Economics
ETH Zürich
Tel. +41 44 632 39 53
E-Mail: vtiefenbeck@ethz.ch

Tanja Eisenach
Press officer, University of Bamberg
Tel.: +49 (0)951/863 1023
presse@uni-bamberg.de

Tanja Eisenach | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft
Further information:
http://www.uni-bamberg.de/

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Innovative genetic tests for children with developmental disorders and epilepsy
11.07.2018 | Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel

nachricht Oxygen loss in the coastal Baltic Sea is “unprecedentedly severe”
05.07.2018 | European Geosciences Union

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

Im Focus: Chemical reactions in the light of ultrashort X-ray pulses from free-electron lasers

Ultra-short, high-intensity X-ray flashes open the door to the foundations of chemical reactions. Free-electron lasers generate these kinds of pulses, but there is a catch: the pulses vary in duration and energy. An international research team has now presented a solution: Using a ring of 16 detectors and a circularly polarized laser beam, they can determine both factors with attosecond accuracy.

Free-electron lasers (FELs) generate extremely short and intense X-ray flashes. Researchers can use these flashes to resolve structures with diameters on the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

NYSCF researchers develop novel bioengineering technique for personalized bone grafts

18.07.2018 | Life Sciences

Machine-learning predicted a superhard and high-energy-density tungsten nitride

18.07.2018 | Materials Sciences

Why might reading make myopic?

18.07.2018 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>