Going Low Flow with Water Saving Shower Heads Doesn't Have to Mean Sacrificing that High Flow Feeling

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High Sierra Showerheads LLC, a "green" California business startup, wants consumers to know that they can conserve water and energy with a low flow shower head—and still have all the showering pleasure and rinsing power that a high-flow, water guzzling showerhead brings. "Our patented nozzle explodes the water into big droplets so you get a full, drenching spray with virtually any household water pressure," says owner David Malcolm. "It works without using tiny holes that clog up or aeration that cools the spray down. We're the only 1.5 gpm, high efficiency shower head manufacturer that can make this claim."

People tend to groan when the topic of low flow shower heads comes up, envisioning either a wimpy drizzle of water or a stinging, needle-like blast. A green business startup based in California's Sierra Nevada foothills wants to get rid of these notions once and for all.

Their company has invented a shower head that rates ultra high in efficiency, they say, but feels as good as any water-guzzling relic from the days of unrestrained consumption.

"It's all in the technology," says High Sierra Showerheads (http://www.highsierrashowerheads.com) owner David Malcolm, whose patented water saving devices are receiving rave reviews from do-it-yourself consumers and large institutions alike. "The main thing we're seeing in our customers' online reviews is surprise, even disbelieve, that this is in fact an ultra-low flow device. When they see their next water and energy bills, it really begins to sink in."

Most customers will save 40 percent in water and energy costs over what is consumed with the common 2.5 gallons-per-minute (gpm) shower head, which used to be the standard for "low flow" in the U.S. If the showerhead they are replacing has an even higher flow rate, the savings are obviously going to be a lot more dramatic.

At about $30 per unit, the typical payback period for a High Sierra showerhead is a mere three months, Malcolm said.

He emphasized that all low flow or high efficiency showerheads are not created equal. "The cheap ones use a lot of plastic in their construction and usually achieve their low flow rates by pushing water through small nozzles or holes in a regulator, which tend to clog. On the higher end, you've got aerating shower heads, which cool the water and might even spread bathroom germs."

Though definitely in its startup phase (it recently sold its 10,000 unit), the Coarsegold, CA company is carving out a reputation among large institutions. It has retrofitted hundreds of showerheads in state and federal prison facilities­—and the water saving devices are installed in the student dormitories of well known universities such as Penn State and Savannah College of Art and Design.

As a green technology entrepreneur, Malcolm is always on the lookout for other innovators who might want to piggyback their energy saving products and channels with High Sierra's. "Our shower heads are made right here in America," he said, "and we're proud to be part of the new technology movement."

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Jonathan Franks
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