Cabin wet units that guide sustainable guest behavior

Posted on February 15, 2023

In this interview with ALMACO, Juhani Lempinen from Oras shares his insight on how to plan cabin wet units onboard that save water and energy while offering the guests a rewarding and fun experience.

Guest blog by Juhani Lempinen, Digital Service Sales and Marketing Manager, North Europe at Oras

Even before the recent rise in energy prices, water and energy have been valuable resources onboard and owners are constantly seeking new ways to reduce consumption and become more sustainable. In cabin wet units, one of the largest operational running costs comes from warm water for showering, bathing and hand washing. Significant savings can be made by installing water saving solutions that guide the guests towards a behavior that saves water.

People do care about water and energy consumption, even when they are not the ones paying for it.

Juhani Lempinen, Digital Service Sales and Marketing Manager, North Europe at Oras

How much water does a person typically consume per shower?

In Western countries most people use far more warm water during a shower than they need without realizing it. They don’t know how much water they consume or how much energy it takes to heat the water. Here is a fun fact for you; a one-minute shorter shower saves enough energy to run the lights of a typical apartment for a whole day.

I consider a wasteful shower one that consumes over 100 liters (26 US gallons). A reasonable shower consumes below 50 liters (13 US gallons) and an effective shower around 20 liters (5 US gallons). Studies show that the age group 20-30 takes the longest showers, but this is also the age group that is the most prone to make changes when made aware of the facts.

In our pilots and research, we have found that most people want to act sustainably, they just don’t always realize how to. According to tests that we have done together with Bamberg University, people reduce the use of warm water at home with around 20% when made aware of their consumption. Our hotel pilots show that the figure lies around 10% for hotel guests. This shows that people do care, even when they are not the ones paying for the water.

How can we encourage guests to behave more sustainably in the cabin wet units?

First, we need to start by installing the right equipment. In order to be suitable for cabin wet units, the equipment must be sustainable, durable, esthetically pleasing and functional. Touchless faucets are popular water saving solutions that are already widely in use on many passenger ships.

Once the proper equipment is installed, it’s time to start raising awareness and making it fun for the guests to save water. For the showers, we recommend installing a digital head shower, e.g., Oras Hydractiva Digital, that gives instant feedback on water consumption in two different ways. While showering, the guest can follow the water consumption with the help of colored traffic light LEDs that turn from green to yellow to red depending on how long the shower takes. The goal is to finish before the light turns red, or even better, yellow. After the shower, the display on the back of the shower head will let the guests know exactly how much and how warm water they consumed during the shower. It turns into a fun game where the guests try to beat their own record every time and feel good about themselves when they succeed. We can see the same behavioral effect in sports watches with heart rate monitors and electrical toothbrushes, to name a few.

The digital shower heads don’t need additional maintenance or batteries as they are powered by the water pressure. If needed, all the shower data can be uploaded online to be viewed on a dashboard.

It’s important to remember that sustainability is also about health, not only water consumption. Studies in daycares show that children soap their hands more than 60% longer when encouraged by e.g., happy animated animals on digital displays or signs.

There is one more thing that I would like to point out as we are talking about health. If a cabin is out of use for a longer time, microbes might start to grow in the faucets and shower heads. At Oras, we generally recommend rinsing them according to the 3-3-3 model: every third day, 3 minutes with hot water and 3 minutes with cold water. Luckily, this can be automated, which saves the owners from additional maintenance costs.

How do you suggest that cruise lines connect water saving to guest benefits?

Many hotels and passenger ships already use guest reward systems to encourage “good” guest behavior. This can be used for saving water as well. The digital head showers can be linked to a guest profile online via corridor routers. As an example, a guest reward system onboard a cruise ship could reward guests with vouchers to gift shops or future cruises when the guests reach certain energy or water consumption targets. A typical and achievable target could be to use less than 50 liters (13 US gallons) warm water per guest per day three days in a row. The guests could follow their own water consumption on a mobile app, a display in the wet unit or on the TV screen in the cabin.

Does it pay back to install water saving solutions in cabin wet units?

It is actually quite easy to calculate the return on investment and payback time for installing touchless faucets and digital shower heads in cabin wet units. As long as we have the consumption baseline and know the price of electricity and water, we can start measuring and comparing. I would recommend doing a pilot on a ship or two to begin with and compare the results to sister ships or the consumption of the ships before the upgrade. After a few cruises it’s already evident how soon the investment will pay off.

Naturally, visible and interactive water saving solutions bring cost savings and elevate the environmental-friendly brand of the cruise line. But better yet, they can contribute to better habits even after the guests leave the cruise ship as they take their new knowledge with them and apply it in their daily lives.

ALMACO is the preferred distributor of Oras for all products to the maritime industry. Contact us for more information.

For more information, contact

Picture of Michael Lindblom

Michael Lindblom

After Sales Manager, EU

+358-40-595 5237

[email protected]

About Oras

Oras specializes in the production of high-quality and innovative sanitary fittings for both private and public use. Oras Group has over a hundred years’ heritage of providing safe, convenient and sustainable access to water, for everyone.