In times of drought, governments will often ask you to cut down on time spent in the shower, which is what happened in Australia in 2007. People were asked to spend no more than 4 minutes in the shower, which already accounts for about 40 litres of water. If you need to wash your hair and shave your legs, that’s quite a challenge.

It was during this time that Nick Christy got in touch with Peter Brewin about his invention of a water and energy efficient shower, and a year later CINTEP was born.

More shower, less water

A CINTEP shower works like this: you enter the desired temperature on the touch screen and the shower will heat up, making sure the first drop out of the showerhead is pleasant – thus eliminating those 20 seconds you now let your shower run before jumping in. The shower starts off with 3 litres of fresh water, a basin underneath your feet collects the water and filters it three times. The water is heat pasteurized, diluted with 30% fresh drinking water and then immediately re-used during your shower session. The filtering process, which takes only 25 seconds, makes sure that the recycled water is drinking quality when it passes through your showerhead a second or third time. CINTEP’s technique cuts water and energy usage by 70%.

Unlike other water-recycling systems, a CINTEP shower has the same water pressure as a regular shower. “You get the exact same shower experience that you’re used to,” says Christy, “but you’re using 70% less energy to do it.” Key to the technique is that the water you use while showering will not be used by the person after you. The basin drains completely when you’re done and the shower can only be used after the basin is filled with 3 litres of fresh water. Shampoo and soaps are filtered out completely and hairs are collected in a filter, which – like your regular shower – you’ll have to clean from time to time. Christy laughs: “And yes, this also means that if someone (not you, obviously!) pees in the shower, the filtering process takes care of that as well.”

The tipping point

Christy won the competition back in 2011. “The prize money is so significant, it’s a game changer for whoever wins it,” says Christy. “We were able to prove completely that we can do everything we said we could do. It’s amazing.”

“In practical terms, the product got much prettier - we didn’t have the money to develop things properly beforehand,” Christy explains. Winning the Postcode Lottery Green Challenge also gave CINTEP an international platform. “On the back of the Green Challenge we were invited to the Clinton Global Initiative in New York, we went to Climate Week and presented at Clean Equity Monaco. We had over 2500 inquiries about the product after the competition,” says Christy.