Santa Cruz Tech Beat


Why my best ideas really do come to me in the shower

By Keri Waters
Vice President and General Manager, WaterSolutions at Resideo

July 23, 2019 — Santa Cruz, CA

Resideo brings household water management into the smart home era

The year was 2015. I was living in California with my husband and our two sons, and I was running my own company. Between intensive demands at work and home, I had a lot of people who needed me. Honestly, a nice, long shower was the “me” time I so desperately craved. But that luxury came with guilt.

I felt the same guilt when opening the mail. I kept getting action letters from my local water municipality – a blanket request for all residents to take shorter showers to conserve water. I said, “Wait a minute… it’s not about taking fewer showers. It’s about using water smarter.” I also questioned water consumption both times I received a water bill for $1,500 (thanks to a running toilet and a broken sprinkler head). I thought, “I can’t be alone in my experience and there has to be a way to intervene. This is serious money!”

These opportunities immediately appealed to my sense of optimization and efficiency. Shortly after that, Buoy was born, and in 2019 Buoy joined the Resideo team.

The Buoy Effect

The Buoy device demystifies our use of one of the planet’s most valuable resources: water. It’s also designed to shut off a home’s water automatically if it detects a leak – helping save the homeowner thousands of dollars in repairs from potentially catastrophic water damage.

Once the Buoy device is installed professionally on the main water line and connected to WiFi, the device monitors every water event in the home: every time a faucet is turned on and off, the flow rate and the duration. The device learns our patterns and categorizes them into events. For example, it can learn that a showerhead uses 2 gallons per minute or that someone takes a shower at 6 a.m. for 8 minutes every other day.

I know I keep talking about showers – but seriously, it is fascinating. According to our 2018 U.S. water usage study of Buoy device owners, a person’s shower duration is like a personal signature: people form water habits, and the time runs like clockwork. We also found washing dishes by hand uses more water than using a dishwasher. And here’s a real shocker: using more detergent won’t wash your clothes better, it will just waste water during the rinse cycle (on modern, high-efficiency machines).

The Future of Smart, Clean Water

Water conservation is directly related to water quality. By that, I mean learning how to conserve water is just part of the opportunity. The other part comes with a fundamental change to our relationship with water.

As David Sedlak shares in Water 4.0, we’ve come a long way since the Roman aqueducts and the sewers of London. However, we need to address how our modern water systems can be reinvented. For example, the U.S. needs a $1 trillion upgrade to our water treatment infrastructure, which was built in the 1960s, and was only anticipated to have a 50-year lifespan.

I wish consumers knew more about their water. They have basic knowledge: they know it needs to be clean and to conserve it when possible. While I still encourage homeowners to enjoy a lush, green lawn and a long shower – there is so much more to learn about water conservation and access to clean water. Knowing how the water system in your home works is a great start, but it’s just the beginning.

Follow along here as I share more about Resideo’s roll out of the Buoy device.



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