UK startup ShowerKap unveils smarttech to reduce carbon emissions and tackle water scarcity

Showerkap, a UK-based tech startup, has developed a water management system that allows organisations to monitor and conserve water usage while encouraging users to adopt more sustainable habits that decrease water consumption, carbon emissions, and costs.

Five years ago, The Environment Agency issued a warning that the UK could face a significant water shortage in 20-25 years. Despite this, with approximately 15 years remaining, excessive shower durations continue to contribute to water wastage, elevated energy expenses, and adverse environmental effects.

Engineered by Steve Harding, Showerkap leverages behavioural science to inspire better decision-making and promote shorter shower times, aiding in water conservation, cost savings, and reduced energy use. This groundbreaking technology provides organisations—including hotels and universities—with the tools to monitor water consumption, track CO2 emissions, identify anomalies such as leaks, and ensure water safety.

Founder and CEO Steve Harding said: “The issue of water sustainability is one of the biggest crises we currently face – water scarcity is ranked among the top five global risks. The value of our water far outstrips the price we pay for it. Showerkap is committed to helping more people transform the way we interact with water. There is no single solution to the water problem, technology can help by creating sustainable solutions, but a parallel transformation is needed in our relationship with water - we must learn to do more with less.

“Our platform enables users to monitor and reduce water usage and, at the same time, empowers people to make more eco-friendly decisions, saving water, energy and money.”

Showerkap’s business strategy is to focus on universities and hotels, two of the biggest consumers of water. For universities with 9,000 students on campus, the solution is estimated to save 1.2 million kgs of CO2 emissions, 227 million litres of water, and £1.1 million per year, using its nudge innovation to reduce shower time from 11 to four minutes by subtly reducing the temperature at the end of the shower time using its unique flow technology.

By installing the smart platform, universities can work towards achieving ambitious emission reduction targets and climate action commitments drawn up by Universities UK to support government plans for reducing emissions by 78% by 2035.

The company is in final discussions with some of the country’s leading universities about adopting the solution as a means of addressing the urgent need for water conservation and the pursuit of net-zero targets.

Harding continued: “The average shower in the UK uses around 150 litres of water - that means every day we are sending two billion litres of shower water down the drain. Combined with the fact that we are facing a situation where we could run out of water in the next 15 years, I was driven to come up with a solution to help address the crisis.”

The Showerkap system works by using a patented valve which gently fades down the water temperature over time, and, by simulating water running out, prompts the user to finish their shower earlier. At the same time, the valve smartbox relays captured usage data to a cloud-based platform and a web app provides users with detailed analytics. Focusing on information such as total water usage, costs and CO2 emissions, it allows detailed classification of water outlets and offers a suite of sophisticated leak detection tools and alerts. Alongside the analytics, the same data forms the basis of the system’s unique set of behavioural ‘nudge tools’. Aligned with users’ preferences and controlled by the user in an app, these tailored, personalised nudges can help encourage better choices about making every drop count and offer individuals the means to make more sustainable water and energy decisions.