While the mechanical shower was first invented in 1767, the modern shower system that we use today didn’t come about until 1850. Since then, the shower hasn’t really changed much. The basic mechanics of the shower head has generally remained the same for more than a century, which is unfortunate since showers are considered the single largest consumers of water. Now, a new startup called Nebia is ready to change all that thanks to its revolutionary shower head that cuts water usage by 70%.
Waste Not Want Not
Nebia was first conceived in 2010 by a Mexican father-son duo of Emilio, an engineer, and his son Carlos Gomez Andonaegui, a fitness club executive. The plan was to redefine the age-old shower experience while tackling the problem of inefficient and wasteful shower heads.
According to the U.S. Geological Survey, showers use up to 5 gallons of water per minute, and with typical showers ranging from 10-15 minutes, a person can use anywhere from 50 to 75 gallons of water. Up until now, the most common tip for conserving water was to simply take shorter showers. “Part of the reason we started with showers is because it’s also where we saw that people are least willing to make a change,” says Philip Winter, CEO of Nebia.
To be fair, the current options for saving water in the shower are rather limited, with low-flow shower heads or water restrictors being the only choices. But low-flow shower heads are notoriously dissatisfying and many complain that it takes twice as long to rinse. “If we were going to have a real global impact, we had to create an experience that people preferred. It couldn’t just be a water-saving shower — it had to be something more than that,” explains Winter.
“To innovate on the shower experience, we had to look outside of the current industry and approach the engineering problem from an entirely new angle,” Nebia co-founder Gabriel Parisi-Amon says.
The result? Nebia’s revolutionary new shower head, which allegedly uses up to 70% less water, making it the most efficient and environmentally friendly option on the market. The key to the shower head’s low water consumption is its aerospace-grade nozzles. “The last half century of nozzle technology has completely changed what we can do with droplet sizes and distributions. However, this tech has only been applied to very specialized fields, like rocket engines and medical devices. We used these same tools and technology to develop Nebia,” says Parisi-Amon.
Unlike typical low-flow models, the Nebia nozzle technology atomizes the water under extreme pressure to break up its molecules into millions of miniature droplets. Rather than standing under a steady stream of water, the user is surrounded by a dense cloud of condensation that covers up to 10 times the surface area of a single water droplet.
“It’s very immersive,” says Winter. “You walk in and immediately you’re wet — you don’t have to step into the stream and move your body around this wide surface area, but you’re still instantly wet. People say it’s like stepping into a warm cloud.”
Initial public response to the shower head has been extraordinary. Nebia’s Kickstarter campaign reached its goal of $100,000 in only 8 hours and by the time the campaign ended, the shower head raised an astounding $3,126,115. The company has also secured a number of high-profile investors including Tim Cook of Apple and Google CEO Eric Schmidt.
One drawback of the Nebia shower head is that it won’t come cheap – the company says that it is expected to retail for $399. Despite this, Nebia claims that the device will end up paying for itself in one or two years thanks to the reduced water bill.