Scrub up like a Mars-bound astronaut with this water-recycling shower

Remodeling your bathroom? You just might want to get this NASA-inspired shower.

About 17 percent of the water you use in your home goes down the shower drain, costing about $70 a year for the average U.S. household. The eco-conscious can only cut back on the frequency and duration of showers by so much, before hygiene and odor starts to lose them friends. Orbital Systems, a Swedish startup, claims its Shower of the Future reduces water consumption by 90 percent and energy use by 80 percent, while still letting users feel clean and comfortable.

Mehrdad Mahdjoubi, CEO and co-founder of Orbital Systems, worked on NASA’s Mars mission project. The planet lacks water, so whatever small amount made the 150- to 300-day journey gets recycled many times over. “We’ve transferred the technology from space to Earth,” Mahdjoubi tells the Guardian.

Instead of letting the water from the showerhead circle down the drain, it’s collected, purified until it’s drinkable, then reused. An eight-minute shower uses less than 1.3 gallons, while a standard shower takes 18 gallons. Since the Orbital System’s H2O stays warm, it also cuts down the energy it takes to warm that water. According Orbital System’s cost-saving calculator, a two-person household in San Francisco could save $320 a year with the Shower of the Future. An accompanying iOS and Android app lets you keep tabs on how much water and energy you’re saving.

The company also claims its flow rate is 5 gallons a minute, higher than a lot of current showerheads that restrict water to 2.2 gallons a minute.

Unlike something like the Eva, which throttles water use and is an easy add-on device for your current shower, Mahdjoubi’s system replaces your current set-up entirely. The showers are already installed in a few hotels and swimming facilities.

Though it’s available for pre-order now, innovation doesn’t come cheap. The total cost of the shower, minus installation, is €3200 ($3,629) to €4000 ($4,537), depending on the model. The company expects to start shipping the system early this year.