The water used before you actually begin showering is called Warm-Up Waste and it’s made-up of both cold and hot water portions. Together these portions make-up about a quarter of your shower's total water and energy use.
The first portion of Warm-Up Waste is the cold water that has to purge before hot water can arrive. It's called Structural Waste. It lasts about one minute, its volume is about 1.5 gallons, and it's made up of the previously hot, but now cold, water that was left in the pipes from your last shower. The presence of Structural Waste requires you to turn-on the shower and let it run for a minute or so before your shower becomes warm and ready. It's the reason you have to wait, wait, wait for hot water to arrive.
But during the Warm-Up Waste period, a great deal of hot water is accidentally wasted too. Called Behavioral Waste,this portion of the Warm-Up Waste volume is larger than Structural Waste's and it occurs when you, just like everyone else, use your time comfortably and efficiently while waiting for your shower to get warm. Think of Behavioral Waste as the amount of time you accidentally spend away from the shower after your hot water has arrived, but before you get in. You're waiting for the shower to get warm and, to make yourself a little more comfortable and productive, you sneak off to quickly brush your teeth, pick out your clothes and grab a towel. It's typical for about 1.5 - 2.5 gallons of hot water to accidentally run down the drain while you're away. That's Behavioral Waste.
Learn More About Behavioral Waste
“Behavioral waste occurs when bathers use their time comfortably and efficiently while waiting for hot water to reach the shower. Activities include brushing teeth, using the toilet, picking out clothes, drinking coffee …”
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