Sustainability update – the latest water-efficient bathroom products

BathroomsFeatures Tue 22nd Feb 2022 by Nicola Hanley

Sustainability update – the latest water-efficient bathroom products

Sustainability update – the latest water-efficient bathroom products

Feature by Nicola Hanley | Tue 22nd Feb 2022

Nicola is an award-winning journalist who has been writing about interiors for 15 years. A former editor of Essential Kitchen & Bathroom Business magazine, she has also worked in PR and is now a freelance writer specialising in kitchens, bathrooms and bedrooms. More

As consumers become more aware of their environmental footprint, they are increasingly opting for water-saving bathroom products – Nicola Hanley rounds up the latest water-efficient products on the market.

Sustainability and conscious consumption have been steadily growing consumer trends for several years now,” says Paul Bailey, leader, category Specialist UK, Lixil EMENA and Grohe UK. “Ignited by the introduction of smart water meters and the continued societal conversation around our impact on the environment, homeowners are more aware of their water consumption than ever, which is in turn leading to more informed purchasing behaviour.” 

The Grohe Plus basin mixer with LED temperature display features infra-red sensors that allow clients to switch between the standard spray, which uses 5.7 litres of water a minute, or the water-saving four-litres-a-minute Spray function

And with rapidly rising living costs and escalating energy bills making sobering headlines at the moment, sustainability has never been more important, from both an economical and environmental perspective. “Sustainability should be front of mind for consumers right now, particularly in the bathroom market,” stresses Yiota Toumba, senior designer at Ideal Standard UK.

Created in partnership with Palomba Serafini Associati, Ideal Standard’s Blend Curve and Cube WCs come with a water-saving 4.5/3 litre dual flush as standard while a 4/2.6 litre version is also available

For a long time, many perceived sustainable products as coming at a cost to style and performance. However, manufacturers have invested in technologies that can help consumers use water more sustainably in the bathroom without having to make such a sacrifice. Design-led, dual-flushing WCs that use less water than ever and stylish taps and showers fitted with flow regulators and aerators are readily available and, says Ideal Standard UK’s Toumba, some actually perform better. “Thanks to innovation, low-flow showerheads perform just as well, if not better, than traditional showerheads, all while using less water.” 

This Rainfinity Overhead shower 250 utilises Hansgrohe’s EcoSmart technology, which mixes air with water, to limit the flow to nine litres a minute, consuming up to 60% less water compared to standard showers

With a colour LCD display and touch controls, Roca’s Smart Shower allows users to pre-set maximum temperature and flow rates to control water and energy usage, which can also be monitored through the company’s app

However, consumer awareness of how much water is actually used in the bathroom, and the products available to decrease this, is still not as high as it should be, according to RAK Ceramics’ UK sales and marketing director Ben Bryden. “It needs to be demonstrated to them in real terms by the retailer,” he says, pointing out the benefits of products such as WCs, which can help consumers “use less water without having to make drastic changes to their behaviour.”

Offering hygienic, touch-free operation, the RAK Sensation WC features a sensor which activates the six-litre flush when a hand is kept still above it and the 4.5-litre flush when a hand is waved.  It also has an easy-to-clean rimless design

VitrA says the WC, which is flushed an average of 7.7 times per person per day, ‘is the main culprit for water wastage in the house’. Designed to help combat that, its Sento wall-hung WC comes with a 2.5/4 litre or 3/6 litre dual flush, depending on the frame chosen

Yvonne Orgill, MD of UWLA, says more communication is needed to promote water and energy efficient bathroom products and to really change consumer behaviour. “2022 will be a key year for the industry to take up this challenge. We must all work harder, not just to help the consumer understand how much water they use and the consequences of their actions, but to make it matter.” 

Designed to offer consumers a hygienic and sustainable solution, the Axor Starck electronic basin mixer is fitted with EcoSmart technology, which limits water flow to around five litres per minute. It uses contactless sensor technology, which automatically switches the tap off after 60 seconds

Grohe’s Grohtherm 1000 thermostatic shower mixer has a built-in EcoButton, which reduces water flow from 16.5l/min to a more sustainable eight litres per minute

Martin Walker, Methven CEO, agrees. “A collaborative approach between manufacturers and retailers is crucial in supporting customers on their buying journey and increasing their understanding of sourcing energy-efficient products.” He urges more retailers to work with trusted manufacturers now so they are prepared for the proposed mandatory water efficiency label. “If retailers get ahead of the curve and take action, if and when labelling becomes a legal requirement, retailers won’t have to overhaul their current stock while already helping to save water for our future generations.” 

New Zealand-based brassware manufacturer Methven’s award-winning Türoa showerheads feature V-Jet spray technology, which helps to reduce water flow to nine litres per minute. Pictured is the Türoa Rail shower

“This year, we’re likely to see a big focus on water-efficient products as the Government fleshes out its policy plans to reduce domestic water consumption,” says Tom Reynolds, chief executive of the BMA. He agrees that sustainable bathroom products are now becoming more mainstream and says manufacturers are continually innovating to create ever more sustainable options. “Next generation products like recirculating showers and improved toilet tech are close to market,” he says. 

Laufen’s contemporary Val single-lever basin mixer features an Eco+ function to prevent unwanted hot water and energy being used by controlling the volume and temperature of the water. This reduces water and energy consumption by around 30% to 5.7 litres a minute at 3 bar pressure

Tags: bathrooms, features, water efficient products, sustainability, grohe

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