Here Paul Bailey of Grohe UK answers FAQs on how water-saving products can be incorporated into self-builders’ bathroom projects, to save them money and help the planet
With a staggering 32 per cent of household daily water usage used for toilet flushing alone, and 36 per cent for washing, bathing and showering, it’s no wonder that many of us are trying to cut down our water consumption. The goal is not only ongoing energy and cost savings, but also to try and ease our burden on the planet too.
HOW MUCH WATER COULD I POTENTIALLY SAVE?
There are significant savings to be made by opting for water-saving bathroom products, and with more and more advanced technology being developed, many of these economical options are still able to deliver an excellent experience, without leaving you feeling like you’ve been cut short.
Typically, showers in the UK use around 12 litres per minute, although this is also dependent on what type of boiler system and shower system is fitted in the home. Water-saving options can reduce consumption to just 9-10 litres per minute, and with additional products that can be fitted to shower heads, usage can be brought down even further, to as little as 7.5 litres per minute.
Similarly, by opting for a dual flush plate instead of a standard flush, you can save as much as 50 per cent, while basin taps can also generate water savings of up to 50 per cent.
ARE WATER-SAVING PRODUCTS MORE EXPENSIVE?
Prices for water-saving products are becoming more and more accessible as a greater number of solutions become available. However, you’ll still want to ensure that the price you’re paying is reflective of the quality of the product, so look for reputable brands that use durable materials and design finishes to ensure you’ll get a product that will last for years to come.
WHAT ARE THE WATER-SAVING WC OPTIONS?
Dual flush plates are one of the easiest ways to save water. These styles of flush offer two different options – a smaller volume flush, usually around 3 litres, and a larger volume flush, which can vary between 4.5 and 6 litres.
Dual flush systems usually need to be installed onto an installation frame which is then hidden behind the wall. Despite being just one small element of the bathroom, it is important these are factored into your bathroom project planning early on, as they can require more invasive work if installed later down the line.
WHAT ABOUT BASINS AND TAPS?
Infra-red sensor activated taps are really efficient when it comes to saving water. What’s more, they can be really affordable and provide lots of additional benefits. By only dispensing water when the sensor is activated by movement, you are only using the water you truly need! In addition, some brands have incorporated a water-saving aerator into the mechanics of the tap, which can further restrict flow to as little as 5.7 litres per minute.
Despite the reduced water flow and volume, the aerator adds air into the stream of water to create the sensation of increased volume. Infra-red taps also make a great hygienic solution for family homes and cater to all generations, from young children who are just starting to use the bathroom unaccompanied, to elderly relatives or those with reduced mobility who can comfortably wash their hands without having to twist or turn any handles.
Digital features now feature in basin tap design and as well as offering new functions that will enhance user safety and improve accuracy of water temperature, the technology also encourages a more conservative use of water. Look out for LED display eco functions that will be able to be activated through infra-red sensor detection, encouraging all family members in the home to opt for a ‘greener’ choice when washing their hands or cleaning their teeth.
WHAT OPTIONS DO I HAVE WHEN TRYING TO SAVE WATER IN MY SHOWER SPACE?
Typically, power showers use more water than conventional showers such as thermostatic systems, so this is the first factor to take into consideration. In addition, some thermostatic systems are also fitted with ‘eco’ buttons which will override the current settings and reduce water use by up to as much as 50 per cent. When shopping around for your shower, pay close attention to
the shower head specification in particular. Many eco-friendly models will have water-saving limiters fitted as part of their design, and others may also allow you to install this yourself post-purchase. However, water-saving limiters are not suitable in power showers as they are pumped units, and the use of a limiter would likely damage the system.
You’ll also want to go back to basics and look at your water pressure. If your home supplies low water pressure, a limiter will only further decrease the shower performance and therefore you might want to reconsider methods to improve this before progressing further with your bathroom planning.
ARE THERE WATER-SAVING PRODUCTS THAT INVOLVE SMART TECHNOLOGY?
Leak detection and smart water systems are a great addition to any property, particularly if you are trying to manage your water consumption more responsibly. They don’t just work with your bathroom, but across all water usage points in the home. Alongside detecting micro leaks, frost risk, burst pipes and being able to automatically shut off your water supply in the event of a problem, these systems also use app connectivity to help you track your consumption and spot which appliances are draining most of this precious resource, giving the information you need to inspire further eco-friendly changes in the home.
Paul Bailey is senior category manager at Grohe UK