Third Party & Independents Archives

Sinful Behavior in Hotel Room Showers

The EPA, according to media reports, is spending $15,000 to create a device that will somehow fit on the shower head of your hotel room and as well connect to a wireless system. All to monitor how long you spend in the shower and to develop an app for your cellphone that will help you see the evil in your habits and start taking short efficient showers, like in the armed forces. This appears to be absolutely ridiculous and beyond all belief. There is no way in the world that the EPA will spend less than $15,000 on recycled stationary, never mind developing a wireless system to control consumers behavior in hotel rooms they paid for with their own money. A pioneering study like this that marks an exciting new stage in behavioral engineering clearly needs a lot more zeros after the 1 and 5 and those three lonely little circles. The first suspect is that it’s a typo plain and simple. Remember, federal climate change spending (technology, science studies, development aid, and wildlife adaptation efforts) totaled $8.8 billion in 2010, five years ago according to the GAO. And the EPA expects us to believe that for fifteen grand they can change how you and every other person who will ever spend a night at in a hotel in America takes a shower?

Perhaps the $15,000 was the cost of giving the press conference where the media dutifully wrote down the number and messaged it back to their editors along with a brief, slightly stunned few paragraphs about the new effort. According to appmuse, developing an application can cost anywhere from a few thousand to up to $150,000. Let's say the 15 grand is the estimated cost of developing the application that will let you know how long you have spent in your hotel room shower, using up clean water, fresh from fluoridation in order to refresh yourself and, if you like to brush your teeth in the shower and accidentally swallow some tap water, replenish your precious bodily fluids. Assuming the 15,000 cost is not a lowball estimate, which is a dangerous assumption given the way government agencies like the EPA work, there's also the question of the physical device that goes on the shower head and the wireless system that supports the app itself. Then there's the cost of manufacturing the device, selling it to unwilling and annoyed hotel chains, installing the thing in every shower in every hotel, and testing the whole system in perhaps a first mover hotel, say the Mandarin Oriental in Vegas. Now were talking rounding errors at least, in beltway terms. Rounding errors in a minor budget to be sure, but something a lot bigger than $15,000.

There is also a political, nay philosophical, question over the EPA controlling you even as you shower. It's only a matter of time before your toilet tank is guilty of flushing too well. Only a matter of time before devices in every home monitor your water consumption, down to the last drop. Because consuming water is not a right, it's a privilege that borders on being sinful. Never mind that there is no big tank of water feeding a planet that is slowly running out. Water moves around, evaporates, condenses, is polluted, cleans itself, and is cleaned by truly smart technology, as in the technology found in any water treatment plant. Spending more in areas like that would be a matter of science for the benefit of citizens. A slightly different matter than Orwellian applications courtesy of the EPA.

Posted by AllardK at March 18, 2015 9:43 PM
Comment #390654

More efficient use of natural resources, i.e., water, land, energy, etc., has proven over the years to be the most effective means of increasing the available supply of limited and costly resources.

In this instance, the government (EPA) is not proposing to monitor excessive usage of water for showers but rather to assist in the development of a device for hotels to self monitor such usage.

Clearly, the proposal is to assist in the reduction of the use of water generally. Now, some may find this a silly use of government funding. However, there are vast areas of the Western US that are experiencing substantial and persistent drought with severe economic consequences. Water may well become more precious than oil in some areas. Efficient use of water equates to economic survival.

Posted by: Rich at March 19, 2015 3:52 PM
Comment #390669

Paranoia rules rather than common sense: Hotels want to manage their resources. They get a water bill, too.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 20, 2015 8:02 AM
Comment #390829

If supply and demand governed the price of water, we would not have shortages.

Posted by: Steven Greffenius at March 23, 2015 12:16 PM
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