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Sustainable Showers: Tips and Tricks for an Eco-Friendly Outdoor Retreat

I love, you love, we all love summer. It’s the time of refreshed spirits and refreshing showers. If you have a garden, you can transform your garden into a sustainable oasis with a solar-powered outdoor oasis.

It’s an eco-friendly way to cool down, connect with the outdoors, and add a touch of luxury to your summer days. Let’s dive into the world of solar-powered showers to get all the tips and tricks!

Why install an outdoor shower?

This isn’t just about elevating your backyard experience, it’s also about environmental responsibility. Imagine rinsing off after a day of gardening, invigorating your senses with a cool morning shower beneath the open sky, or sharing laughter with friends under a starlit sky, all thanks to the power of the sun and zero environmental impact.

An outdoor shower can be sustainable through various design features and practices that reduce environmental impact, conserve resources, and utilise renewable energy. Here are several ways an outdoor shower can be made sustainable:

  • Solar-powered water heating: When selecting solar panels for your outdoor shower, it’s essential to consider the unique conditions of the UK climate. The effectiveness of solar panels is influenced by factors such as sunlight exposure, cloud cover, and temperature variations.

Here are some key considerations for choosing the best solar panels in the UK: choose highly efficient, weather-resistant and inverter-compatible solar panels to make the most of your solar panels in the UK climate.

  • Low-flow showerhead: Installing a low-flow showerhead helps minimise water consumption without compromising the shower experience. These fixtures maintain adequate pressure while conserving water, contributing to overall sustainability.
  • Greywater recycling: Implementing a greywater recycling system allows the reuse of water from the outdoor shower for non-potable purposes like irrigation or car-washing. This practice reduces wastewater generation and maximises the utility of water resources.

Alternatively, you can go for rainwater harvesting and use it for your showers. Install a rainwater harvesting system to collect and store rainwater.

A typical 8-minute shower requires around 40 litres of water. So make sure your storage, for example, an old bathtub, can hold that amount of water.

Use a filtration system to remove debris and contaminants from the collected rainwater. While rainwater is generally clean, filtering helps ensure the water is suitable for showering. Simple mesh filters or more advanced filtration systems can be used depending on the water quality in your area.

  • Water-efficient plumbing fixtures: Choosing water-efficient plumbing fixtures, such as faucets and valves with low-flow options, further reduces water usage. This contributes to water conservation and sustainability.
  • Native landscaping: Surrounding the outdoor shower with native plants minimises the need for additional watering. Native vegetation is adapted to the local climate, requiring less water and maintenance.
  • Sustainable materials: Constructing the shower enclosure and flooring with sustainable and weather-resistant materials, such as reclaimed wood or recycled materials, reduces the environmental impact of the outdoor shower.
  • Smart water management: Integrating smart technologies, such as sensors and controllers, enables efficient water management. These systems can monitor water usage, detect leaks, and optimise water flow, promoting responsible consumption.
  • On-demand water heaters: Opting for on-demand water heaters (tankless heaters) instead of traditional water heaters with tanks reduces energy consumption. These systems only heat water as needed, minimising standby losses.
  • Drought-tolerant landscaping: Designing the outdoor shower area with drought-tolerant plants reduces the demand for irrigation. This practice aligns with sustainable landscaping principles and conserves water.

By incorporating these features and practices, an outdoor shower can operate in harmony with the environment, minimising its ecological footprint and promoting sustainability in water and energy use.

Solar-powered outside shower installation tips

Installing a solar-powered outdoor shower in the UK requires careful consideration of local conditions, regulations, and specific requirements.

Choose a location for your outdoor shower that receives maximum sunlight exposure. In the UK, this typically means facing the solar panels southward for optimal sunlight absorption.

Consider potential shading from nearby structures or trees that may affect sunlight availability.

Plant selection is crucial for achieving both aesthetic appeal and functionality. Consider varieties that not only thrive in your local climate but also offer privacy and sensory delights.

Here are some plant options suitable for an outdoor shower, each bringing unique qualities to enhance your bathing experience:

  • Bamboo serves as a natural privacy screen and is easy to maintain.
  • Hibiscus is known for its vibrant, large flowers.
  • Climbing roses are a great visual privacy screen and they also smell nice!
  • Lavender is well-adapted to the UK climate and is good for well-drained soil. Also, it attracts pollinators while thriving in sunny locations.
  • Wisteria is commonly grown in the UK and can withstand the climate. Ensure proper support for its vigorous growth.
  • Palms add a tropical or exotic ambience. Consider windmill palms for milder UK regions.

​​Installing a solar-powered outdoor shower involves careful planning and consideration of various factors to ensure efficiency and sustainability.

Here are some installation tips to guide you through the process.

Materials needed:

  • Solar-powered outdoor shower or materials for building a DIY solar shower
  • Solar panels installed at home
  • Garden hose
  • Homemade solar coil (copper or black polyethylene tubing)
  • Plastic piping clips
  • Splitter Y attachment for garden hose
  • Standard shower head
  • Low-flow shower head (optional)
  • Shut-off valve

1. Choosing a solar-powered outdoor shower

  • Select a solar-powered outdoor shower that is portable and lightweight for easy connection to solar panels. Alternatively, gather materials to build your solar shower.

There are multiple options for camping outdoor showers which can be used anywhere you want or need them. Even in your backyard if you don’t have solar panels long for a refreshing shower in summer.

2. Installing solar panels

  • Ensure that solar panels are properly installed at your home and positioned to receive maximum sunlight exposure.

3. Connecting solar shower

  • If using a pre-made solar-powered outdoor shower, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for connecting it to the solar panels. Typically, this involves connecting the shower to the solar energy system through a compatible port.
  • If building a DIY solar shower, replace the tank with a homemade solar coil. Attach the coil to a garden hose, creating both cold and hot supply lines.

4. Mounting the solar coil

  • Use plastic piping clips to fasten the solar coil to the solar roof. Leave sufficient lengths on each end to connect to the supply lines.

5. Connecting supply lines

  • Attach one end of the solar coil to the splitter Y on the garden hose attachment. This will act as the cold water supply.
  • Fasten the other end of the solar coil to the hot water side of a standard shower head mounted inside the shower area.

6. Optional low-flow showerhead

  • If there is heavy demand for the shower or to limit water usage, consider installing a low-flow showerhead. Connect it to the hot water side of the solar coil.

7. Water supply management

  • Install a shut-off valve to control the water supply. Ensure the valve is easily accessible for users.
  • Between visits to the cabin, shut off the water supply to the shower. Occasionally flush the lines to maintain water quality.

By following these instructions, you can effectively connect your outdoor shower to solar panels and elevate your backyard experience while embracing environmental responsibility. Happy showering! 🙂