Shower Feedback in Switzerland

In 2012, ETH Zurich recruited 697 households from a 5,000-household sample provided by the utility company ewz to participate in the shower feedback pilot, a program designed to promote showering behavior that reduced energy and water use. After reviewing other feedback programs to understand potential barriers, benefits, and drawbacks, a survey was conducted to characterize the sample population and get a sense of their environmental attitudes and habits. With a focus on one and two-person households, the opt-in shower program was launched, providing homeowners with smart shower meters that could be easily installed. During the baseline period, all shower meters displayed water temperature only, but, once a baseline had been established, feedback content on the meters changed depending on which of three different device versions the homeowner received (device version divided participants into two treatment groups and one control group). The meters stored data from every shower taken throughout the two-month study period and were then sent back to ETH Zurich at the end of the pilot for data readout. In addition to analyzing the resource consumption measurements, a post-pilot survey was also conducted to see how attitudes and habits had changed since the pre-pilot survey. Relative to the control group, ETH Zurich found that both treatment groups reduced energy consumption in the shower by 22%, a yearly savings of 452 kWh for the average 2.1-person household.

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