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Challenges of Researching Showering Routines: From the Individual to the Socio-Material

Department of Geography and Environmental Management, University of the West of England, Bristol BS16 1QY, UK
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Urban Sci. 2019, 3(1), 19; https://doi.org/10.3390/urbansci3010019
Received: 13 December 2018 / Revised: 23 January 2019 / Accepted: 29 January 2019 / Published: 31 January 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Future of Water: Local, Regional and Global Best Practice)
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Abstract

In the UK, water supplies are under pressure from climate, population and lifestyle change. Showering is the largest component of domestic water consumption. Young adults are high water-users at a transitional life-stage, when practices are dynamic, and habits shaped. This paper presents the methodology, early findings and reflections on challenges of working with different data types and scales, to explore real-world water-saving through a mixed-methods approach, focusing on showering patterns of first year university students in campus accommodation at the University of the West of England, Bristol, UK. Combining household meter, logged water-fixture micro-component, personal-use questionnaire, user diary and stakeholder focus group data with the Scottish Government Individual-Social-Material model, typical showering demand reduction interventions were evaluated and insights into alternative interventions were generated. Results indicate Estates’ routine equipment maintenance and database management affect data quality and consistency. Despite these issues a profile of daily student water use was derived (equivalent to 114 L per person per day) but with high variability between different households (from 83 to 151 L per person per day). Average shower durations (self-reported 10–12 min) were higher than reported UK norms, although frequency was similar to the UK daily shower norm. Average measured shower volumes (51 L in one house) were not excessive, indicating shower fixtures provided a contribution to water saving. View Full-Text
Keywords: behaviour change; Individual-Social-Technical toolkit; mixed-methods; showering; water efficiency; young adults behaviour change; Individual-Social-Technical toolkit; mixed-methods; showering; water efficiency; young adults
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Simpson, K.; Staddon, C.; Ward, S. Challenges of Researching Showering Routines: From the Individual to the Socio-Material. Urban Sci. 2019, 3, 19.

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