As an avid fan of apps, gadgets and thingamajigs, I was giddy when I found out you can just buy things to make you a better, greener person. Do green gadgets actually work? Can I really just purchase something to reduce my carbon footprint for me? In an effort to find out, my editor asked me to start trying out “green” items on a weekly basis, to see if they make me an all-round Better Person, and we’re starting with the Water Pebble, available at that little shop of wonders, Nigel’s Eco Store.
The Water Pebble is a small, judgmental gadget that lives near the plughole in your shower, measuring and memorising the amount of water you’re using like a pedantic local councillor. It may as well be holding a clipboard.
It flashes green at the start, when you’re using an acceptable amount of water, amber when you’re “halfway through”, then red for “switch off the water NOW, don’t you care about the environment? It’s all we’ve got!” It then uses the information to shorten your next shower.
Online reviewers had pretty positive feedback
I bought this to deter my daughter from completely draining the hot water tank every time she took a shower. This has worked but I know she takes it out and puts it back in again later. It’s helped us to be mindful to turn off the shower when shampooing otherwise we get a red light after three minutes! – Foiled parent, UK
Ok if you can shower really quickly! We were very excited about our pebble but found our shower has to be completed in three minutes. I turn the shower off to shampoo and then have freezing water when I turn it back on again, probably wasting more water waiting for it to warm.
– Chilly, Southampton
A great product, guaranteed to save you water. When I bought this I was sceptical as to whether it could really work, but…it’s nice and sturdy and definitely works. I used to spend ages half asleep in the shower before work but now I’m in and out nice and quickly! – Sleepy head, Cumbria
It wasn’t bad…first time I used it I spent three hours in the shower to make sure I get plenty of time to shower. I like my loooong showers : ) – Missing the point, UK
My own verdict – the minus points:
The amber – and so-called “halfway through” – light turns red really, really fast. I’m talking seconds. When I turned the water off in response to the amber warning, it started flashing red at me anyway as I was drying off. It rather ruins the feeling of satisfaction when you’re shouting, “What do you want from me?” at an LED.
Irritatingly, it’s the size and shape of a plughole. So naturally the Water Pebble blocks it and gets covered in soapy water, so you have to kick it away to see what colour it’s flashing.
And the plus points:
It’s a real money-saver. If a family of four can collectively reduce their showering time by three and a half minutes, they’d save £180 a year. You could put that money towards a super-turbo power shower (only kidding).
I use less water already. I live to avoid the angry red light. I spend less time pointlessly languishing under the hot waterfall and more time jolly well getting on with it.
The battery life is long. You can expect it to last up to two years. Even if you take 4-5 showers a day, it will last 9-12 months.
A blinking light is not too intrusive. I once used a shower alarm. Four minutes in, it went off with such urgency I pictured dolphins flapping about in a draining puddle.
It measures water, not time. So if your bathroom gets pitiful water pressure, there’s a nice green upside to the miserable experience of showering under a trickle.
It lives by the plughole so you don’t have to remember to use it; it’s just there. Annoying you.
If you’re looking to shorten your showers to save water and money, the Water Pebble is a nice little investment. Even if it does feel like getting a telling-off from a lump of plastic.
The Water Pebble is available from Nigel’s Eco Store for £10.99.
Is there a gadget you think we should review? Tweet us @Gdnlivebetter or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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