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Alisha and Sean McFetridge of Kelowna have hit the shower sweet spot.
The couple invented Rainstick Shower, a system that uses 80% less water than a traditional shower while doubling water flow and maintaining strong water pressure.
"Rainstick is North America's first circular shower," explained Alisha.
"It's super-efficient using less than 20 litres of water per 10 minute shower. Usually, a 10 minute shower uses 100 litres of water."
The immediate question is: How can Rainstick use so much less water while amping up water flow and provide superior pressure.
That's where the innovation of the Rainstick system comes in.
Alisha and Sean invented a stylish, water-circulating linear drain and reservoir tower attached to a rainshower head and hand-held shower.
This wifi-enabled, smart shower system is wired into your bathroom's standard electrical and plumbing set ups.
When you turn the shower on, it brings in hot and cold water from your regular water system and then, this is where the magic happens -- instead of the water simply running down the drain after only touching your skin for a second, the water recirculates up to six times.
The linear drain in the system diverts the water from the regular drain and pumps it into the reservoir where it undergoes a quick double-micron treatment and intense ultraviolet light treatment to make the water clean and fresh to come out of the shower again.
The shower maintains hot water by bringing in a tiny bit of heated water from the regular system on every cycle.
At the end of your shower, all the water goes down the regular drain so every shower use starts with new, hygenic water.
Rainstick Shower can be installed for $5,000 in either a new-build bathroom or as part of a bathroom renovation.
The company also has a buy-now-pay-later plan so more people can get Rainstick installed in their home.
"It's the best return on investment you could ever make in your bathroom," said Alisha.
"More efficient showers will cut both your water bill and your energy bill by one-third."
While still in the early stages of commercialization, Rainstick has garnered major attention.
At the massive Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last year, Rainstick beat out 1,800 other companies to win the Best of Innovation Award.
Time magazine put Rainstick on its list of 200 best inventions of 2023.
And, last month, Rainstick was selected as a finalist in Telus' #StandwithOwners program, winning a $20,000 prize package, including $10,000 in funding and technology to grow the business.
Both Alisha and Sean have business degrees and sustainability backgrounds.
Alisha started her career in tech, working for Kelowna success stories Club Penguin and Banana Tag, before moving around internationally and working in water management in rural Kenya and China.
Sean's originally from Kelowna, but his last job was in Toronto as the national energy manager for Recipe Unlimited, the restaurant company that has the brands The Keg, Montana's, Original Joe's, Swiss Chalet, New York Fries, Harvey's, Kelsey's and East Side Mario's.
Coincidentally, they met at the Sustainability on Screen film festival at Okanagan College in Kelowna in 2011.
A few years ago they put their heads together to come up with Rainstick as a way to conserve water and energy while maximizing the shower experience.
The last couple of years have seen heavy research and development to get Rainstick to early commercialization with the units being built at a contract-manufacturing facility in Guelph, Ontario.
So far, just 65 Rainsticks have been installed -- a few in the Okanagan, but most in Vancouver, Ontario and California, where the first distributors and installers have been established.
"Our goal is to build out our distribution, bring the cost of Rainstick down and sell and install 10,000 Rainsticks per year," said Alisha.
"We want to make a big impact."