Efficient Flow Shower Heads

Consumer Acceptance of Low Flow Shower Heads

This project, conducted for the Bonneville Power Administration, Office of Energy Resources, investigated the factors that influence consumer acceptance of the leading low flow shower heads currently on the market. To conduct this study, a large sample of individuals throughout the Northwest was given an opportunity to install one of twelve different low flow shower heads in their home. The shower heads differed in several respects:

  • water flow (high, medium, low)
  • control mechanism (preset or absent)
  • spray system aerating and non-aerating)

In an extensive survey two to three weeks after they had received the shower head, as well as in a subsequent follow-up survey, the participants indicated they were extremely satisfied with the performance of the shower head they tested.

Their ratings of each of the separate shower head features and their overall satisfaction rating clustered at the upper end of the acceptance scale. There were no differences between the twelve different shower heads on either of these measures, nor on any of the specific performance features we assessed. Each shower head was viewed positively by subjects throughout the region, by both males and females and by individuals from all age and income groups sampled. Taken together, this evidence indicates that the low flow shower heads currently on the market will meet with a high degree of consumer acceptance. As a result, their water and energy savings potential can be realized on a relatively large scale.

Evaluation of the Seattle City Light Home Water Savers Program

In response to severe drought conditions throughout the Northwest, Seattle City Light distributed free water saver kits to all single-family through multiplex residences in the City of Seattle during the summer of 1992. The kit contained a water and energy saving shower head, faucet aerator and two water saving toilet devices. Public Policy Research participated in customer follow-up surveys to determine both short-and-long installation rates and customer satisfaction with the products. An abbreviated survey was also administered to a control group of Tacoma residents, a community similar to Seattle City Light's service area with comparable drought conditions but no formal water saver distribution program.

Fifty-four percent (54%) of the survey respondents in Seattle reported installing the shower head soon after it was delivered. Nine percent (9%) of the Tacoma survey respondents reported they had purchased an efficient-flow shower head by the end of the Kit distribution period. Using this as the best estimate of free ridership, the net impact of the Home Water Savers Program on shower head installations was forty-five percent (45%). Those who received their Kit during the first three weeks of the distribution period, when the program received its maximum publicity, had the highest installation rate. Finally respondents expressed a high degree of satisfaction with the efficient-flow shower head they received.

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