WASHLab

Anna R. Davies & Ruth Doyle (IE)
Installation, 2015

Clean, fresh water is a fundamental requirement for life, but access to this precious resource will become increasingly unpredictable around the globe as the climate changes. As a result, paying greater attention to how we use water in our everyday lives will be an important part of sustainable water resource management in the future, wherever we live. While around a third of all water used in the home is for personal washing, little is known about the routines of how and why people wash.

WASHLab invites visitors to pull back the shower curtain and join an innovative collaborative research project to share their washing habits and explore how they could change these habits to reduce water consumption while still achieving the needs of comfort, cleanliness and convenience. By completing
 an anonymised survey, visitors 
to WASHLab will both contribute 
to greater understanding of why people wash and also indicate which mechanism for reducing water consumption while washing they are most likely to adopt.

Highlighting the range of washing behaviours that people engage in, WASHLab will bring novel insights into the factors shaping domestic water use and the steps needed to create appropriate tools, rules, skills and understandings for more sustainable washing in an uncertain future.

About the artist: 

Anna R. Davies is Professor of Geography and Director of the Environmental Governance Research Group within the School of Natural Sciences at Trinity College Dublin. She is the Principal Investigator of CONSENSUS, an EPA-funded research project developing creative measures to stimulate sustainability transformations.

Ruth Doyle is an expert on sustainable behaviour change and a postdoctoral researcher in the Geography Department of Trinity College Dublin, where she leads the Washing HomeLabs, an ethnographic experiment exploring the sustainability potential of aligning educational, technological and regulatory supports for reducing water use from washing in the home.

Developed by the CONSENSUS HomeLabs research team from Trinity College Dublin, and funded by the Irish Environmental Protection Agency.