The shower’s up, and I must say I’m pretty impressed. Despite the setbacks and my dodgy block wall, they’ve done a really nice job. The basic shape is typical for the area but we’ve made it look a lot prettier than the usual concrete box. The door frames were made by myself (still need to make the doors and fit the windows) but everything else was done by the father and son team from the village – with a bit of creative direction from us and a few good ideas of their own, such as tiling just to head height and then plastering above.
The hot water is supplied by the extremely efficient and relatively low cost solar hot water system on the roof, which has a capacity of 220 litres and is insulated well enough to keep it hot for 2 or 3 days. In this part of China they are surprisingly (surprising for me anyway) common. A quick web search and I discovered that in 2012 70% of the world’s solar hot water installations (by capacity) were in China. With the cost of electricity so low, it still takes a few years to pay for itself but for people here I get the feeling that it’s a bit of a status symbol, like having an expensive car parked on the drive for all to see. In such a sunny place we should be able to get all our hot water from the sun about 90% of the time, and for the less sunny periods it has a built in emersion heater.