You know what drives me crazy? When movie and TV characters are getting ready to bathe, and they turn on the shower and then proceed to take off their clothes, fluff their hair, get chased around by serial killers, etc. While everyone else gasps and frets over the protagonist, I can’t focus on the plot at all. “Hey!” I think. “Hasn’t anybody noticed that the water’s still running?” I mean, really. Such a waste.
I offer this as proof of my good intentions when it comes to saving water and energy, because I’m about to confess my greatest eco-sin: I love me a long, hot shower. Let anyone among you who could deny the soul-warming luxury of a steamy sudsing when you’re cold and stinky throw the first loofah.
Hold on a minute, now: I don’t always indulge these dark desires. I try to be reasonable about the length of my showers. But until now, I’d never really subjected my bathing habits to a critical eye. Turns out, it’s long overdue: Showers account for almost 17 percent of our indoor water use, and keeping that water hot ‘n’ ready (for showers and all other hot-water activities) accounts for about 15 percent of the average household’s total energy budget [PDF]. That’s a significant opportunity for savings. So, vowing to take a hard look at the state of my cleansing and to slash minutes wherever I could, I ventured to peek behind the shower curtain.