Bart Sobieszczanski of Ideal Standard answers the key questions around how to specify bathroom products to maximise water-saving benefits, and increase your build’s sustainability as well as cost-efficiency
When it comes to water-saving in the home, one of the main areas where we should be considering how we can cut back on water consumption is in the bathroom. A staggering amount of water can be wasted in bathrooms if more efficient products aren’t used. For example, according to Waterwise, a ten- minute shower uses roughly 120 litres of water, but a low-flow showerhead reduces this by half to 60 litres. With options like these, self-builders are in a unique position to really reduce water usage, their environmental footprint, and utility bills.
WHY SHOULD I LOOK AT SPECIFYING WATER SAVING BATHROOM PRODUCTS?
When it comes to self-build projects, many people are choosing to build more sustainable homes, as they bring about fantastic benefits when it comes to reducing energy bills, and are also better protected against future environmental regulations. Often these impressive projects will include solar panels on the roof, advanced insulation, and even measures to make them completely self- sufficient. However, implementing technology and equipment to save on water usage tends to come lower down the list of priorities.
This is a problem, as the bathroom is one of the biggest contributing factors for water use in the UK home with the average home roughly using almost 350 litres every day. Creating an eco-friendly bathroom can also add value to your build, as if and when you decide to sell, buyers are prioritising sustainability more and more when it comes to choosing a new home.
WHAT ARE THE GENERAL POINTERS ON SELECTING PRODUCTS?
Most fixtures in the bathroom now offer integrated water-saving features as standard but, as well as offering practicality, products also need to
help you achieve your overall design vision. Water-saving products don’t need to sacrifice design for the sake of sustainability – many premium collections on the market today feature innovative water-saving solutions within elegant designs.
Investing in high-quality pieces is also important. A leaky toilet can waste between 200 and 400 litres a day, and a dripping tap can also result in over 5,500 litres of water wasted a year. Having well designed, well-made fixtures in the bathroom can lower the likelihood of any issues, save water and reduce maintenance needs for years to come.
WHAT ABOUT HALF-FLUSHING?
When it comes to water-saving in toilets, the half-flush function has been around for decades, with dual-flushes giving the option to use a smaller amount of water in certain situations. Concerns have often been expressed around efficiency and hygiene with half-flushing, however, some products offer innovative elements that can ensure a complete flush every time due to the unique distribution of water across the entire bowl. Choosing a toilet with clever design elements like this means there doesn’t have to be a compromise between hygienic and environmentally responsible solutions.
HOW DO NEW TAP DESIGNS STOP EXCESS WATER USE?
Water-saving doesn’t just stop at the toilet though. One of the big culprits of excessive water use is bathroom taps, particularly when you look at older bathroom suites. To address this, most new taps now limit the rate that water is dispensed to five litres a minute, ensuring that a plentiful amount is still released, without over-using water.
Another way to make sure that new homes deliver water saving benefits is by installing a low-flow tap in the bathroom or kitchen. Flow restrictors can help reduce water consumption by up to 50 per cent.
Overall, when approaching your self-build project, sustainability should be a huge consideration, and water-saving will be a big contributor to how environmentally friendly the end result will be. With the advancements in water-saving products across the entire bathroom industry, it is now easy to find a solution that not only fits with your design vision but also offers tangible benefits when it comes to your water consumption.
Bart Sobieszczanski is a designer at Ideal Standard, and general manager of the firm’s London Design and Specification Centre