Smart showers with colour codes or panel display for water usage levels picked for new flats

KELLY NG Today Online 10 Oct 17;

SINGAPORE — Smart showers coming up in about 10,000 new flats in the next two years will feature either a panel display of real-time water consumption in numbers or colour codes at the showerhead to indicate consumption level.

There will also be advanced interactive features that allow users to set their own water conservation goals and monitor their water consumption history, among other things.

Details of the smart showers to be installed in new Build-to-Order flats from next year and in 2019 were released by national water agency PUB on Monday (Oct 9).

The two proposed designs, by Amphiro AG, and Smart and Blue, respectively, were picked out of four submissions earlier this year for the Smart Shower Programme, which seeks to determine if such devices help encourage people to use less water in the shower.

“Showering typically comprises 29 per cent of a household’s monthly water consumption. To better manage water usage, PUB aims to provide information to customers to make informed decisions especially in areas of higher usage,” said Mr Michael Toh, PUB’s director of water supply (network), in a press release.

The authorities hopes to compare the results of the two products “with the intent for wider adoption and (providing) more options for customers”, Mr Toh said.

Households can save about five litres of water per person each day, when occupants are provided with real-time feedback while taking their showers, according to a behavioural study by the PUB and National University of Singapore (NUS). The study conducted in 2015, which involved 550 households, also showed that successful use of such devices can help households shave about 3 per cent of their monthly water bills.

“Initiatives such as the use of smart shower devices that provide real-time information can motivate behavioural change and complement traditional policy tools in achieving Singapore’s water conservation goals,” said the NUS’ deputy president for research and technology Professor Ho Teck Hua.

In calling for proposals for the supply of smart showers in April, the PUB said it hopes to tap on innovative ideas from the industry to improve the features of shower devices currently available in the market.

To help Singaporeans reduce water usage, the agency is also exploring ways of replcing toilet bowls in Housing Development Board flats with more water-efficient ones and to sync shower devices with smart phones, tablets or laptops so that users can download data and monitor their water consumption over time.