Climate Change

Published on February 23rd, 2022 | by Scott Cooney


Thinking of taking shorter showers to save water? Nah – try this instead

You hear it often enough – want to save the planet? Try shaving 2 minutes off your shower every day. And…yes, you *could*, of course, do that. But…doesn’t that feel like a sacrifice? And we’re all about saving the planet but doing so without it ever feeling like a sacrifice. But for a moment, let’s look at the numbers.

2 minutes of showering, even with a traditional, low efficiency 2.5 gallon per minute showerhead, yields 5 gallons a day. Multiply by 365, and you’re looking at 1825 gallons per year. Not bad, I guess.

But what does that look like in the bigger picture? And what other very simple, non-sacrifice feeling opportunities do you have to reduce your water footprint? Well, the US Geological Survey put together a food impacts water calculator, which you can find here. I took the quiz and really didn’t do well – I grossly underestimated the water impact of some foods, in particular beef and chicken.

Photo from the US Geological Survey

A 1/4 pound of beef is 460 gallons of water, or 1840 gallons per pound of beef. So in other words…one single pound of beef uses more water than reducing your showers by 2 minutes a day for an entire year.

With a traditional low efficiency showerhead (2.5 gallons per minute), you’re looking at 736 minutes of showering being equivalent to the water used for one pound of beef. So…you can literally take a 12+ hour shower…or eat one pound of beef…and use the same amount of water.

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About the Author

Scott Cooney is a serial eco-entrepreneur including being the solo founder of Pono Home,, and CleanTechnica; author of two books; former sustainability consultant with clients including Johnson & Johnson, Eastman Chemical, Wal-Mart, and Duke Energy; former Adjunct teaching the first course in sustainable business in the MBA program at UH Manoa; lover of local, healthy food and especially vegan nachos. Find Scott on Twitter

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