Water is a resource we are constantly taking for granted. In partnering with Well Aware on the LARQ Bottle Benefit edition, we learned that 1 in 10 people worldwide lacks access to clean water. Water is scarce in certain parts of the world but it’s also a resource that is depleting. Taking steps to conserve water at home–no matter how small you think the change is–can make a meaningful impact on the planet.
One of the many joys in life for a lot of us is our shower experience–our opportunity to relax, decompress for the day, and to be truly alone. However, taking a nice long shower can mean wasting a lot of freshwater in the process. The standard shower uses 2.5 gallons per minute, which means that in 10 minutes, you would have used 25 gallons of water. That’s enough water to fill nearly 189 LARQ Bottles; that’s A LOT of water. So, what if there was a way to get that spa-like experience in a shower without using so much water? The creators of Nebia have the solution.
Five years ago, Nebia launched the Nebia Spa Shower, a revolutionary water-efficient shower system. Their patented H2Micro™ technology, which atomizes streams of water, increases the total surface area of water by 10x while saving up to 65% of water compared to a standard shower. This groundbreaking technology creates an incredibly relaxing, spa-like experience while saving a significant amount of water and money in the process.
A few weeks ago, Nebia launched their warmest and most affordable shower yet, Nebia by Moen on Kickstarter, and they’ve already raised over $1.5 million from over 6700 backers around the world! Nebia by Moen starts at $160 and you can back it through February 28 11:59 PM (PST) on Kickstarter.
We sat down with the CEO and co-founder of Nebia, Gabriel Parisi-Amon, to find out more about the brand and their seemingly magical creation.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and why you started Nebia.
Gabriel: We’re Nebia, an SF-based start-up on a mission to transform the way people interact with water by building innovative products that people love to use and that are better for the planet.
Nebia was born in 2010 in Mexico City. At the time, my co-founder Carlos was running a national health club chain and he started thinking of ways to reduce the water used by the club’s 25,000 daily visitors. He began building prototypes with his dad, who was retired and an engineer/tinkerer, and then he met my other co-founder Philip not long after. Carlos and Philip decided to take their idea to San Francisco and that’s where I met them.
At the time, I was working for Apple but I had a background in thermofluids and was really captivated by the idea of building a product with a core technological challenge and a compelling impact on the planet.
What was the process like creating Nebia? What kind of challenges did you face?
G: As they say, hardware is hard. And we found that out first hand. Our goal with Nebia was to make a product that provided a wonderful shower experience, seamless UX, and beautiful design.
To make that happen, we had to design a lot of things from scratch–from the nozzle array and pathways to the install mechanism, to the way we bent the aluminum arm. Doing so many novel things in one product meant that anytime we hit a snag, the entire project was slowed down.
What are your goals for your brand? What are some global issues you intend to tackle with your product?
G: At Nebia, we strongly believe that we have a responsibility and an opportunity to make great products that have a positive impact on the world. Nebia showers are our first step in a greater movement towards using our planet’s resources more efficiently.
Our vision is to scale our technology and make it more accessible to people around the world. Our hope is that Nebia by Moen will reach more homes than ever and play a critical role in our goal to save one billion gallons of water by 2021.
Further, we hope that Nebia can show that a small team of dedicated, mission-driven people can make a meaningful impact. And we hope to see more companies that make products that put the user and environment first.
When did your passion for sustainability and water conservation start?
G: I have loved building things since I was a kid. I would take things apart to see how they work, and to my parents’ frustration, not always be able to put them back together. When I started formally studying Mechanical Engineering, I realized that a lot of the foundational innovations of the discipline (like the internal combustion engine and other ways of converting fossil fuels into energy) were at the heart of the environmental crisis that we faced.
These were amazing innovations that catapulted the world forward but at the expense of future generations. It was this realization that made me care deeply about sustainability, and, although it took several years, it eventually led me to Nebia.
What do you think is the most challenging part of living a sustainable lifestyle?
G: I think there are several challenges to living a sustainable lifestyle. For one, life itself throws challenges at you day-to-day–relationships can be hard, work is tough, budgets need to be kept. Finding the time and energy to live a sustainable life means dealing with all of those challenges and then more. I think it is critically important to do, but I don’t want to pretend it is easy and doesn’t take a concerted effort. You have to stop and make space to do it.
That is why at Nebia, we want to make a product that makes it a little easier to do this every day, without adding to your to-do list. If anything, we want Nebia to give you a space to relax and unwind away from your endless to-do list. In a similar vein, I think it is incredibly challenging to know the environmental impact of the products you use. Supply chains are opaque, labels about “green” can be meaningless, and green-washing products is a real thing. Finding the time and information to understand your impact is hard.
What are some changes you’ve made towards a more sustainable lifestyle?
G: At the office, we also have compost and recycling, and we use those to reduce our trash as much as possible. Logistically, we make our recycling bins a lot bigger than our trash, which helps remind the team.
At home, I try to only use one trash bag per quarter. I often fall short, but I have been successful in several quarters and have gotten pretty close on several others. I am lucky that San Francisco Recology (our waste management company) recycles a lot of things, and most importantly has curbside composting. This allows me to put very little in my trash, and really focus on minimizing my waste.
I live in a studio apartment with a small water heater. With a regular shower, I would run out of hot water in less than 8 minutes. With Nebia, I can go a lot longer. I try not to, but I also use my shower as a place to relax, think about my day, and escape the noise of the world. Having an experience that I love, which lasts as long as I need, is a material improvement in my life. When I travel, and I get in a shower to start my day, I am often reminded of how much I miss my Nebia. I feel fortunate to have it at home.
What are your favorite products that help you live a more sustainable lifestyle?
G: It is really simple, but my compost bin is a big one. It is nothing special but it means that food waste doesn’t go to the landfill and it ensures that I can keep my trash bag for a long time because food won’t start to smell in it.
What is a guilty pleasure of yours that you wish was sustainable?
G: Great question. I would have to go with meat. I really like a good steak or a duck breast. There are more sustainable sources, and I look for those, but it isn’t easy.
What are some parting words you’d like to leave for our readers?
G: You don’t have to be perfect, you don’t have to radically change everything in your life (diet, single-use plastic, wardrobe) to make an impact. If everyone just did a little across their lives: ate a little less meat, used a reusable water bottle, sewed up the hole in your favorite sweater instead of getting a new one, composted at home, used less water in their shower; it would add up and make a huge difference.
To date, the Nebia community has saved over 120 million gallons of water. This equates to 182 Olympic pools, 1.5 million bathtubs, and 904 million LARQ bottles. Recently, Nebia partnered with Moen to develop their most accessible and versatile shower system yet. It’s their hope that this partnership will bring their patented technology to more homes than ever. And it plays a critical role in saving 1 billion gallons of water by 2021. Back Nebia by Moen on Kickstarter now through February 28, 2020 11:59 PM PST.