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.”
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.
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.”
“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.