Tank is a shower monitoring system that is installed between the showerhead and the waterpipe. It is underpinned by a belief that in every environment there lies some form of sustainable practice, yet sometimes the practice itself seems hard or intimidating. Tank’s distinguishing factor is its lack of intimidation.
At every startup the user is able to describe how motivated they are feeling by choosing one of three energy levels; low, normal or high. This information allows Tank to create an appropriate target. During a shower, routines can be easily paused by pressing the display, eliminating the worry of having to manipulate temperature levels upon return. Live feedback via the display enables the user to become more efficient and better informed by highlighting the invisible flows of water built-in to shower systems. Finally conservation success is broadcasted to an online forum. By broadcasting this success, no matter how small, Tank facilitates a natural growth which hopefully leads to further and bigger success.
Lower than average rainfalls in Australia have resulted in substantial decreases in the average yield from dams and an increase in the reliance on groundwater and desalinated water supplies. Resources face further pressure from an increase in households and consumption. Analysing the collective consumption of water in Perth, households still have the greatest potential to make a significant contribution to reducing water use. Of all the scheme water consumed in Perth, 71% of it is in the residential sector. Currently state governments focus on either empowering consumers to reduce their demand or designing more efficient supply systems and household technologies. Through this we reinforce a production/consumption relationship that overlooks reasons why people use water and how they can change within the broader context of everyday life. Tank aims to bridge this gap between consumer beliefs on individual responsibility to conserve water and day-to-day usage behaviour.
Initial research centered around showering behaviour and how it can be modified within the context of everyday life. Here I discovered some innovative approaches to showering such as the ‘Navy Shower’ in which users are asked to turn off the water whilst lathering up with soap, only turning it on again to rinse off. Processes and theories were then conceptualised in a proof of concept. The proof of concept provided sustainable improvements to current systems whilst allowing me to track routines and publish them to Twitter. Each user was asked to record their mood before entering the shower. This revealed that not every shower is the same; to ask a person who is tired to use the same amount of water as a person who is feeling normal is pointless. From this I organised like communities and formed achievable targets for each situation. The proof of concept was then improved, making various processes easier to perform, and finally prototyped into a retrofittable solution, Tank.