The Faulty Fluid Dynamics of Hotel Environmentalism, for his Uncertain Principles blog. Using a fairly sophisticated argument (there was math), Prof. Orzel concluded, “So, at best the ‘shut off one showerhead’ strategy might be saving 15% of the water usage…the real savings is probably considerably less, and consistent with zero, as a simple analysis of the plumbing would suggest.”
Being of a scientific nature, I ran an experiment of my own. First I took a long shower (using both showerheads) and got dressed. Then I went to the nearby CVS to buy a ruler. When I returned to my hotel room, I closed the bathtub drain and turned on the water. After the water had run from both showerheads for five minutes, I measured the water level in the tub. Four and three-quarter inches. Next, I drained the tub, re-closed the drain, and repeated the experiment with one showerhead. This time there were only two and three-quarter inches of water in the tub.
Findings: My results are inconsistent with Prof. Orzel’s. After accounting for the slope of the tub floor, I conclude that turning off one showerhead saves just about half the precious natural resources.
Good to know. I wouldn’t want to waste water.
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