Save water. Save Energy. And cut greenhouse gas emissions.
By replacing just one shower head in your home (or multifamily, institutional, or commercial building) with a High Sierra Showerheads model, you can do all of the following, each and every month:
- Save water. Save 600 gallons – equivalent to the contents of 120 water cooler bottles – of fresh, clean water from unnecessarily going down the drain.
- Save energy. Save 94 kWh of electricity or 3.2 thermal units of natural gas no longer needed to heat that water.
- Cut greenhouse gas emissions. Reduce your household’s, organization’s, or business's greenhouse gas emissions by 98 pounds of carbon dioxide (CO2) (with an electric water heater) or 37 pounds of CO2 (with a gas water heater).
These savings estimates are based on two people sharing a shower, each taking a ten-minute shower daily. If more people are sharing the shower, or they take longer or more frequent showers, you’ll save even more. (And check out “The assumptions and math behind our sustainability impact,” below.)
We’re metal. They’re plastic. Here’s why that matters.
We’re not referring to our taste in music. Or claiming other shower head makers are fake or insincere. Rather, it's about what we're made of:
High Sierra’s shower heads are made of metal. Their core parts are made of solid brass and stainless steel. And their tips and other decorative parts are made from heavy-duty aluminum. (Their non-metal parts are also made from a quality material: silicone rubber, a non-reactive material widely used in medical and food industry applications.)
Nearly all other affordably-priced shower heads today are mostly made of plastic. (Even many “metal-looking” showerheads just have an ultra-thin plating on top of, and covering up, the plastic.)
Here’s why that matters.
First, metal shower heads like High Sierra’s are highly durable. Because you typically won’t replace them as often, they use fewer resources.
Plastic ones are far more breakable, as you know if you’ve ever had to replace one with a chip or crack. Each time that you need to junk a broken plastic shower head, that adds waste to landfills - or worse. And each time you buy a new plastic shower head means yet more energy use and greenhouse gas emissions from its manufacture, transport, and packaging.
Second, the metals in High Sierra’s shower heads are highly valued. And they’re extensively recycled. For example, steel is the most recycled material on the planet, with an overall recycling rate of 86% in 2014. Recycling metals like steel and brass (a copper and zinc alloy) saves energy, when compared to mining and refining virgin metals. And the recycled metals perform equally as well as new materials.
The plastic in other shower heads, made from fossil fuel-derived chemicals, is cheap, bulky, and unwanted after use. Only 9% of plastic gets recycled . And unless its sources are pure, each new generation of recycled plastic typically degrades in performance. There are many different types of plastic, and sometimes a bit of one mixed in with another can contaminate a batch, along with the reinforcements, fillers, and colorants found in some plastic products. It’s no wonder used plastics typically just get tossed, and our oceans are filled with this stuff.
Some 8.8 million tons of additional plastic ended up in our oceans in 2010 alone. That’s equivalent to pushing five plastic grocery bags of plastic trash right off into the oceans from every single foot of coastline around the world, in that year alone. And this number is increasing with each passing year.
A 2017 United Nations conference factsheet estimated that plastic waste kills up to 1 million seabirds and 100,000 sea mammals each year, along with deaths to marine turtles and countless fish. And we humans are not immune from this impact: we’re increasingly ingesting plastic-related chemicals from the seafood we eat.
Bottom line: when choosing a shower head, consider the materials used to make it.
High Sierra’s most popular shower head model is also our smallest: the Classic Plus. It literally fits in the palm of your hand. At about 3 inches long and 1 inch wide, weighing under 5 ounces, it’s one of the most compact shower heads in the industry. Both its physical and carbon footprints are sleek and minimal.
Yet, the Classic Plus is mighty for its size, drenching you in an invigorating spray of large, heavy, high-energy droplets. Even customers with long or thick hair say it powers off shampoo, conditioner, and other hair products better than any other water-conserving shower heads they’ve ever used. It’s also one of the best-reviewed fixed shower heads on the market today, with a Top 20 Best Rating on Amazon (among 3,000 competing models) and Best Picks from Business Insider and others!
Instead of creating oversized rain showers that look impressive - but too often drizzle out a disappointingly anemic spray - we’ve used the power of design to give you an amazing showering experience in a compact package.
And speaking of packaging ...
Packaging. Less of it.
Some shower heads come with lots of extra packaging, some of which will inevitably end up in landfills. Ours don’t.
We don’t encase our products in hard plastic cases for shelf display, which you have to cut away and discard. They’re shipped with just enough packaging to arrive at your door in good condition, and nothing else unneeded.
Our compact Classic Plus model, for instance, is packed in an equally compact cardboard box that’s just big enough to hold and protect it - and not a bit larger.
The assumptions and math behind our sustainability impact.
Some vendors claim sustainability benefits without telling you a great deal about their basis. At High Sierra, we believe in being upfront - and thorough - around this. Here are the assumptions we made; the simple, understandable math we used; and the data on which we relied when calculating your sustainability impact from switching to one of our shower heads:
- All savings estimates based on:
- Replacing one standard 2.5 gallons per minute (gpm) low-flow shower head with any of High Sierra Showerheads’ 1.5 gpm shower head models.
- Two people sharing the shower, with each person taking a ten-minute shower per day.
Your savings could be greater if more people share the shower, if they take longer and/or more frequent showers, if the water is left running to warm up, or if the shower head being replaced uses more than 2.5 gpm (perhaps because its flow restrictor has been removed or modified, or the shower head is an older, less efficient model).
And savings could also be less, for instance, if just one person uses the shower, or the replaced shower head is already a more efficient low-flow model that uses 2.0 gpm or less.
- Save water estimates based on:
- By replacing a 2.5 gpm shower head with a 1.5 gpm shower head, you save one gallon of water every minute your shower head is fully running. When two people each take one, ten-minute shower per day, that’s 20 minutes spent showering per day, thus (rounded for simplicity) 600 minutes showering per month (30 days times 20 minutes) - and 600 gallons saved.
- Save energy estimates based on:
- It takes one British Thermal Unit (BTU) of energy to heat one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit (1°F). One gallon of water weighs 8.3 pounds. Hence it takes 8.3 BTUs to heat one gallon by 1°F, or 4,980 BTUs to heat 600 gallons. Assuming that your household water comes in at 55°F, and that your water heater heats it to 120°F, you’d need 323,700 BTUs to heat up 600 gallons by that 65°F difference.
- Using the American Physical Society’s conversion factors of 1 kWh of electricity = 3,412 BTUs, and 1 thermal units (“therm”) of natural gas = 100,000 BTUs, heating that water requires either 94 kWh of electricity or 3.2 therms of natural gas.
- This calculation is an approximation and your actual savings may vary. The water flowing into your building might be colder or warmer than assumed, thus requiring either more - or less - heating energy; every water heater is not fully efficient in turning electricity or natural gas into heat, thus requiring more heating energy; hot water flowing through your building’s pipes may lose some heat before reaching your shower, thus requiring more heating energy; and your shower water may include some cold water along with your hot water, particularly if you don’t use your shower’s hottest setting, thus requiring less heating energy. Because all of these factors may offset, and will depend on your specific site, water heater, plumbing layout, pipe insulation, and showering practices, we’re using the much simpler calculation above.
- Cut greenhouse gas emissions estimates based on:
- When using an electric hot water heater, nationwide 2016 US Energy Information Administration (EIA) data of an average of 1,041 pounds of carbon dioxide (CO2) emitted per MWh of electricity generated (hence 1.041 pounds of emissions per kWh of electricity generated), multiplying that by the 94 kWh saved monthly from not having to heat 600 gallons of water. (This emissions average reflects the mix of sources used to generate the nation’s electricity, including natural gas, coal, petroleum, nuclear, hydropower, wind, solar, and biomass.)
- When using a natural gas water heater, EIA’s figure of 117.0 pounds of CO2 emitted per million BTUs of energy generated by burning natural gas (hence 11.7 pounds of emissions per thermal unit, equivalent to 100,000 BTUs), multiplying that by the 3.2 thermal units saved monthly from not having to heat 600 gallons of water.
- Over and above what you’ll save in your home, multi-family, institutional, or commercial building, your water supplier will also realize savings on energy used and greenhouse gases emitted, further benefiting the environment. By replacing your higher-flowing shower head with a High Sierra 1.5 gpm model, they’ll save by not having to transport 600 gallons of water to your home or business each month, by running pumps or otherwise. Nor will they need to treat those 600 gallons of water prior to their arrival, and (in many cases) once again before they’re discharged back into rivers, lakes, or oceans. That also reduces their usage of treatment chemicals, as well.