Shower 2.0 set for splashdown

Meet the sustainable shower tech that aims to stop gallons of water going down the drain.

Shower 2.0 set for splashdown

Meet the sustainable shower tech that aims to stop gallons of water (and money) going down the drain.

Our daily washing ritual is having a technological makeover with water recycling tech coming to the rescue of bathrooms old and new as water scarcity continues to make headlines worldwide.

According to United Nations agency, Unicef, half of the world’s population could be living in areas facing water scarcity by as early as 2025.

But the benefits of sustainable shower technology go beyond just water conservation and lower water bills. It can also help to cut the carbon emissions associated with water treatment, transportation and heating.

Experts estimate an average 65 litres of water pours straight down the drain during an average eight-minute shower. To address this wastage, next generation shower solutions work by purifying and recirculating water in real-time.

The LOOP shower developed by Danish startup Flow Loop is one such solution that reduces water and energy consumption by recirculating water and only adding in fresh water to maintain the desired temperature. The system uses filters, UV light, and other treatment processes to ensure the quality of the recirculated water, making it safe and clean for recirculation.

Suitable for both new builds and retrofitting most existing shower spaces, Flow Loop says the system can be up and running within a few hours with no construction work needed.

The resulting saving can be up to 80% water and 70% energy savings for every shower, reducing the energy required to heat, pump, treat and distribute water the company says, in line with its goal to change the way we use water in our bathrooms.

To this end, Flow Loop has been collaborating with partners such as Swedish home furnishing giant, Ikea, to develop its recycling shower. Last year Ikea acquired a minority stake in the start-up.

"We believe the transition to circular showers will accelerate as water scarcity increases. This is why we have designed the LOOP shower . . . "

Toels Grene, CEO of Flow Loop

Its applications are suitable for businesses or commercial operations such as hotels, which consume a large volume of water, and in residential buildings where the flow loop technology can be integrated into existing structures.

Troels Grene, CEO of Flow Loop, says growing global populations and rapid urbanisation are pushing demand for clean water to unprecedented levels resulting in water scarcity, high energy consumption, and the release of greenhouse gases.

“We believe the transition to circular showers will accelerate as water scarcity increases. This is why we have designed the LOOP shower to deliver high water and energy saving, high shower comfort, and easy installation in existing bathrooms,” he says.

Other companies have been working on a range of closed-loop shower solutions including Swedish company, Orbital Systems – which last year raised US$23 million of private funding from Nordic real estate organisations to ramp up the commercial expansion of its product portfolio.

Dutch startup Hamwells has also developed a sustainable shower range, including a unit that uses waste water heat recovery pipes to save energy, and a recirculating shower suited to off-grid applications.

The tech

The LOOP shower recirculates water by collecting, filtering and then purifying it. Instead of exiting through the drain, water is collected via a suction inlet. It then passes through a pre-filter, microfilter and then UV purifier using ultraviolet light. Flow Loop says this process eliminates almost all bacteria, viruses and micro-organisms, with the final water quality tested under a variety of conditions and verified by the Technical University of Denmark (DTU) and Eurofins as within the ‘best category of bathing water’. The microfilter is changed on a regular basis and a system cleaning process is also required by inserting a cleaning tablet into the system and letting the shower perform a rinsing process. The company provides a maintenance package that includes filters and tabs, and reminders for performing maintenance. According to Flow Loop, the LOOP shower can be retrofitted to most existing shower setups where access to electricity is available.

Who funds it

Flow Loop is a Danish startup and Inter IKEA Group acquired a minority equity investment in the company in 2022.

Is it ready to roll

The LOOP shower is only available in Denmark but there are plans to expand to other regions in the coming years.