SPIKY: the curtain that kicks you out of the shower after four minutes

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Elizabeth Buecher’s eco-conscious design of the shower curtain SPIKY is an inspiration for water conservation.

Now, we’ve heard of shower sessions being cut short because of getting tangled in the shower curtain. But, have you ever heard of a shower curtain determining how long you’re allowed to take a shower for? Well, believe it or not, a London-based designer and artist, Elizabeth Buecher designed a shower curtain that does just that.

Buecher designed an eco-warrior SPIKY shower curtain that gives you only a maximum of four minutes before kicking you out of your shower. Just as the name states, the curtain has spikes in it. But don’t worry, it’s not as dangerous as it sounds. The spikes are made up of soft plastic, which is essentially there to make a point rather than injure you.

This might seem like an extreme way of monitoring one’s water usage in the shower, but the reality of water wastage in showers across the world is quite grim. According to Waterwise, Brits waste more than  2 billion liters of water every day just on showers. Just by cutting a minute from your shower, UK residents can save a massive £215 million every year on their collective energy bill.

To add to that shocking statistic, an average showerhead will use around 12 litres of water every minute. This means if you are taking a 10 minute-long shower, you will be using approximately 150 litres of water just to wash your body once a day. These facts are what inspired Buecher to introduce SPIKY the shower curtain to the world.

sustainable shower curtainSPIKY only gives you four minutes to have an efficient shower, and if you exceed that time all the spikes inflate and disrupt your shower session. The spikes inflate if they are exposed to running water continuously for four minutes or more.

Currently, the SPIKY shower curtain is displayed as an art installation, but Buecher told the Huffington Post she “would love to develop it into a commercial product”. She added: “People get very excited about it for lots of different reasons: design, ecology, education and art. The curtains [create] a lot of interesting discussions across fields.”

Although SPIKY is a fantastic idealistic and artistic solution to curb the current water crisis and help contribute to the betterment of our planetary wellbeing, is it a realistic solution? Sure, if the product comes into the commercial market, many people will likely buy it and try to do their part in water conservation. But is it only going to remain a tantalising conversation piece? There is a multitude of other shower factors to delve into.

That includes those who want to wash their hair, shave, or have bad or delayed access to hot water from their showers. Four minutes isn’t enough for such purposes and circumstances? Pairing the shower’s time with the time to apply a conditioner time, it will take you a minimum of 10 minutes for every hair washing session.

This means using 150 litres of water. Regardless of SPIKY terrorising you after four minutes, it simply isn’t a viable option to get out of the shower with soap and shampoo all over yourself.

elizabeth buecherSo, what can we do to conserve the most valuable resource of our planet? There are plenty of solutions. One could be timing ourselves to finish within a strict four minutes on non-hair wash days. Once SPIKY comes into the market, you can just use that as your alarm clock.

Another common mistake that we all are guilty of is using our shower time as our go-to reflection period. By using that time to think about our day, practice how to win arguments or create imaginary situations in our head, we soothe our minds, but at the cost of our planet. Thus, being mindful of consciously focusing on just the act of showering will take us a long way.

You can also switch to taking a bucket shower instead of using a showerhead. This is a common way of bathing across many countries and will save many litres of water if used the right way. This means using small buckets and a maximum of two buckets of water for the entire shower.

So, why not use SPIKY as an inspiration and start adopting water-saving measures to do the right thing for our individual and collective homes?