Diary of an Eco Gadget Guy

I'm one for easy fixes; I like the idea of something that I plug in/ pour in/ wire in to my house and the result is less energy (and carbon) used. Over the years, I've tried a wide variety of technology that claims to save energy from the very expensive to the cheap, from the slightly far-fetched to the blindingly obvious. I get excited by the optimistic promises of the product brochure saying 'our special formula will make you the envy of every other "hair-shirted greenie" within miles. So here's the first in the series of reviews on technology that sometimes makes you glow with satisfaction and sometimes roll your eyes and 'tut' in disbelief.

The Eco Showerdrop (below) is an attractive-looking piece of wetroom-ware that is really nothing more than a big waterproof timer in your shower. But it does have two significant effects: firstly, it turns showering from being a mode of relaxation and luxury into a competitive sprint; Secondly, it reduces your water (and energy) use significantly. 

The Showerdrop suspends from your shower hose like a blue stopwatch, ticking out the time until you've used the recommended parsimonious amount (50 litres, I believe) which can take as little as two and a half minutes. Then it bleeps continuously until you press stop. For the competitive, the temptation is to beat the requisite time; as the time passes, your heart rate rises until you reach a point where soap is flying over your body so fast that you feel like you're doing the Macarena at 120 beats per minute. The time available is not much at all, so it has the unfortunate side-effect, therefore, of making showering very unrelaxing.

Should you buy it? It retails at around £12 and you could save you that much off your water bill in a month plus you'd be doing the planet a favour (on both energy & water use). The solution I came up with was actually much simpler: if you want to save money in the shower, you simply get wet then turn off the shower, soap up everything and turn the shower back on again. Cost= £0, savings = much more than a gadget. Plus you don't have rising tension of keeping a soapy eye on the showerdrop's alarm!

This blog was written by Simon, one of our householders. See his case study here

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