ECO Shower: Environmentally conscious interactive waterplay
(submitted to Corra Design Journal)
The ETRC has designed an ECO Shower to be incorporated with a blue concept
in the current solar and wind installation. A blue roof is an urban oasis
that recontextualizes the boundary between public and private space
(similar to the urbeach concept discussed in the Solar section). While
being an ecologically conscious waterplay space, blue roofs use showers to
irrigate "green roofs" (i.e. rooftop gardens). The outdoor shower finds a
new context on urban flat rooftop spaces, together with wind and solar
energy. Below is a photo illustration of interactive radar-based shower
The pictures below illustrate the making of the "blue roofs" outdoor
shower base: phased array micro miniature radar transmit and receive
antennas are embedded with water capiliaries into a crumb rubber
mould. The recycled tyres used to make the shower base thus create a
comfortable non-slip surface that protects the expensive electronic
equipment from water. The radar array accurately tracks the three
dimensional position of the bather's body. Accurate 3D modelling of the
bather's body position is combined with computer control of the water
distribution system, so that every drop of water lands on flesh. This
results in zero waste of the shower water.
The bottom row of pictures illustrate a variation on the radar tracking in
the shower. This shower, made of stainless steel is also suitable for
outdoor "blue roof" applciations. It uses computer vision (CCD sensor
arrays) to track the position of up to six bathers at the same time, and
direct water in a zero waste way. This design is also suitable for mass
casualty decontamination, in order to process large numbers of people, in
the event of a bioterror attack. Because the system is completely
off-grid, it will continue to function even when all electricity and water
pressure are lost, for example when utilities are shut down in an
Artist's Statement: Philosophical background for the ecoshower
The bath is not a private island. We are all connected in a global
ecosystem where we must conserve water for the public good. The blue roof
shower is an outdoor ecosystem that reclaims previously unused flat
mechanical rooftop space as an urban oasis. Renewable energy sources on
the roof at 330 Dundas Street West, in Toronto, transform it into an
electric energy production space, where wind, rain, and sun are all fully
Use of wind: The Lakota wind turbine continues to produce energy
regardless of how strong the winds are. If more energy is produced than
can be used, the excess is dumped into a dynamic braking system, that
prevents the blades from reaching dangerous speeds. The dynamic braking
system is a resistive load that can be used to heat water, thus providing
a source of hot water, which can be stored in tanks for later use.
The wind turbine is mounted on the roof, which is also fitted with solar
panels. Six inches of styrofoam insulation on the roof provide an R60
insulation rating. Furthermore the upper roof is covered with solar panels
(BP Solar, 12 volt, 160 Watts each, total output power is 4,000
watts) that gather the sun's rays for energy use in the building. This
energy is used, together with wind energy, to heat the shower water, as
well as to run various equipment, including the shower control systems.
Rain water is collected from the flat roofs, and stored in tanks for
treatment such as filtration. The treatment is powered by wind and sun.
The lower roof has a rooftop garden that is irrigated by the used shower
water. If one or more people use the shower on a daily basis, there is
enough used shower water to irrigate a good sized rooftop garden.
The result is a zero-runoff roof that re-uses the rainwater twice: once
for showering, and then again for irrigation of the rooftop garden oasis.
Additionally, the shower base contains micro radar systems to track the
body of the user, and rainwater is directed exactly at the flesh, so that
none of the reclaimed rainwater is wasted.
During heavy rainfall seasons, when there is more water than what is
needed for showering and irrigation, excess water is used to cool the
solar panels so that they run more efficiently.
The urban oasis also retains rainwater in the rooftop garden, to help keep
the building cool in warm weather. This eliminates the need for mechanical
cooling (air conditioning) on the top floor. Additionally, occupants can
use the shower for a quick rinse at various times of the day, to cool of
in hot weather, thus reducing or eliminating the need for mechanical
cooling equipment on the roof.
This results in a reduction or an elimination of electricity consumption,
since air conditioning accounts for a major portion of electrical
utilities load. Additionally, the solar panels and wind turbine collect
sufficient energy to power other electrical equipment in the building, in
addition to the shower. This other equipment includes rooftop lighting so
that the garden oasis and outdoor shower can be enjoyed day or