The Virtual Water embedded in our goods.
- Did you know that it takes almost 30,000 litres of water to produce the steel in an average-sized car? Or that to drink that one cup of coffee in the morning, almost 140 litres are needed to grow the beans? The water that goes into producing the food we eat and goods we consume is known as virtual water.
Traditionally when we talk about water consumption we refer to the water that we drink, use for washing, use in the toilet or watering plants. On average this amounts to about 150L of water per person per day in the UK. When we look at our virtual water consumption, our daily average is much closer to 3400L of water per person per day. This Hidden water accounts for nearly 96% of our daily consumption! Yet how come so many design solutions neglect this and focus on saving the 4% of water we traditionally consider?Hidden explores the relationship of virtual water in traditionally industrial produced goods. The outputs of the project consist of a set of glass vessels communicating the amount of water used based on material selection in the design of objects, and a redesigned alarm clock and smoke detector, which use less water in their making.
- Virtual Water BottlesHow much water goes into producing a cap that is 8cm 3? These bottles were created as a quick visualisation to communicate the amount of water that goes into producing an object based on material choice.
- Alarm Clock
The Alarm Clock was designed playing off the physicality of ceramics. The user must interact with the Alarm Clock to switch it off by flipping it over, thus appreciating its ceramic material. The clock would be manufactured using slip casting. The two cork end caps compress the internal components into place, removing the need for any fasteners.The redesigned Alarm Clock would use 2.8L of water to produce where its plastic counterpart would use 26L of water to produce.
- Smoke Detector
The Smoke Detector was designed to be manufactured and assembled in an efficient manner. The internal components slide out separate from the housing to allow easy replacement. The cover would be isostatically pressed and joined to the base plate in the greenware stage. The base plate would be ceramic injection moulded. All of the internal components are housed on the PCB, which slide out making it easier to repair or replace the parts. Cork inserts are used as spacers and a cork cover closes the product and also acts as button if accidently activated.The redesigned Smoke Detector would use 1.3L of water to produce while its plastic counterpoint would use 20L of water to produce.