We’re all interested in saving water and energy and some of us actually practice what we preach. From turning the tap off during teeth brushing to only boiling the required amount of water for a cuppa, we’re well on the way to becoming more water and energy conscious.
But are we in the habit of turning the tap off during hand washing? Probably not, because it goes against everything we were ever taught about the process. However, that could all be about to change if the tap designed by Cole Smith, a student from the Virginia Tech School of Industrial Design, is ever manufactured.
Clean hands in 15 seconds
Currently only a design concept, the water saving tap also ensures we wash our hands correctly. Don’t worry if you didn’t realise you were doing it incorrectly, you’re not alone. The fact that you bother to wash your hands at all deserves a pat on the back, however, we are being encouraged to wash our hands more thoroughly to prevent the spread of germs that cause illness.
According to wash-hands.com, ‘It takes at least fifteen seconds to wash your hands properly – this is about how long it takes to sing ‘Happy Birthday to You’ twice through!’ Good to know. In fact, if you want to find out how to wash your hands properly, check out their website.
How does the water saving tap work?
The designer, Cole Smith, says, “In washing your hands, the soap does 100% of the work. We only need the water to build up a lather, and rinse it off afterwards. If you wash your hands in running water, you just wash it off too fast.”
He designed the tap accordingly with this in mind. The tap initially releases just enough water to get your hands wet. The water flow then ceases for 20 seconds whilst the tap refills, allowing you to wash your hands thoroughly. That is, create a good lather and pay particular attention to cleaning your digits and nails. Then the water flow resumes, allowing you to rinse your hands clean.
How much water does it save?
The designer estimates the clever tap design can reduce water use by 88% because it only delivers the amount you need. He says, “Normal faucets have two modes—on and off—and when the faucet is on, there’s no real way of knowing how much water you’re using, since it all goes down the drain immediately. Leave your faucet on for a little while, though, and you’ll see that it can fill up the entire sink in just a few seconds.”
Available smart taps
Whilst we’re waiting for such a concept to become a reality, sensor taps that eradicate the need to touch the tap at all and thermostatically controlled taps that deliver water at the optimum temperature are readily available now.
[Images: via FastCompany]