The latest eco-friendly suites, showers and sanitaryware won’t sacrifice your design style
Go on, admit it. How many times have you brushed your teeth with the tap running, or topped up the tub when taking a dip? And who’d readily choose a spluttering dribble over an invigorating blast, even if the shower on offer has eco credentials? We all want to do our bit when it comes to water saving, but good intentions can fall by the wayside if it means compromising on performance or splurging on premium price tags. Luckily, if you’re planning a new bathroom, replacing old water guzzlers will instantly earn you eco stripes. Heating water takes up 30 per cent of your household energy bill, equating to £200 per year says the Energy Saving Trust (energysavingtrust.org.uk). So splashing out on the latest fittings could slash household costs, too.
According to research by Waterwise (waterwise.org.uk), the average family uses about 70 per cent of water in the bathroom; 30 per cent of which is flushed down the loo. That’s why upgrading your WC should be at the top of your H2O-loving list. UK toilets needlessly flush away 1.2 billion litres of water a day, according to government gurus. This is pure drinking water, so you’ll understand why the Government wants to reduce overall household water consumption from 150L to 130L a day by 2030. It’s also the reason, with increased levels of consumption and several regions in water stress, why some are calling for water meters to be installed in all homes over the next decade. You can do your bit by using 62L per shower. Even if your shower isn’t turbo charged, you’re advised to clean up and cut-back; effortless ideas include setting a time limit for your deluge or swapping the showerhead to a low-flow or power-shower mimicking aerated model.
As water saving drives innovation in bathroom design, you’ll likely benefit from the latest go-low technology with a new shower, whether you aim to be saintly or not. Look out for eco settings; they’re ideal for busy households where there’s high demand, reducing the rate from 12L to 8L per minute. The latest digital showers (and taps for that matter) can also contribute as they can be pre-programmed to a preferred flow and temperature. You can also pause them mid-shower to shampoo, and then re-start at the exact same temperature so the water isn’t left to gush down the drain.
Many eco experts would advise against taking a soak in the bath in order to save water, but why give up one of life’s simple pleasures? With government targets for bathing set at no more than 230L, a low-volume tub is the way to have a guilt-free soak. It’s savvy design that gives these baths green credentials, which is why they’re also part of trend-setting collections. Twyford’s Signature tub has a cunning undulating design within the vessel that reduces the amount of water needed to just 140L to the overflow. Robin Levien’s seductively shaped Concept bath for Ideal Standard employs the same shape-shifting trick. Always check for a Waterwise Marque (waterwise.org.uk), such as Bristan’s 140L bath, which uses 65L less water than a conventional model, or head to your local supermarket and pick up a 140L tub from Tesco (tesco.com) at just £179. Every little helps. You might want to consider hi-tech sensor taps. They remember to stop the water running even if you don’t, and Hudson Reed’s (01282 436 934; hudsonreed.com) model at around £84 is surprisingly affordable. For peace of mind, check the product you’ve eyed up is certified with WELL, the Bathroom Manufacturers Association’s Water Efficiency Labelling scheme (water-efficiencylabel.org).
lt’s said that if you swap just one daily bath for a five-minute shower, the water saved would supply the annual water needs of more than 15,000 households. Most people know that taking a speedy shower is preferable to a bath when it comes to water saving, but that doesn’t necessarily include power showers. Using twice as much energy and water as baths, they cost the average four-person family about £918 a year according to research by Unilever UK (unilever.co.uk). That’s almost double the cost of running a normal shower.
Fitting a Hippo or other displacement device into the toilet (available free from most water companies), reduces the flush by 3L. Better still, replace an ancient system that can use up to 13L of water per flush, with a modern flow- or dual- flush system. Typically, a dual flush provides a 6L (the UK building regulations requirement) and water-slashing 4L option; this eco button uses 25 per cent less water if chosen - four out of the five average trips to the bathroom, according to Ideal Standard. There are even greater savings to be had with the latest designs. Vitra’s collection features a 2.5L or 4L dual flush, Ideal Standard’s eco-savvy Sandringham suite comes with a 2.6L or 4L WC, as does Twyford’s (0870 020 0099; twyfordbathrooms.com) Flushwise collection (awarded the Waterwise Marque), or pop down to B&Q (0845 609 6688; diy.com) for its 2.6L flush model.
Always repair leaky taps, as they waste more than 5,500L of water UK-wide and cost households £18 per year says the Energy Savings Trust. Then check your thermostat, as most homes set it too high and scalding hot taps are not only dangerous but also energy hoggers – you could save around £60 a year just by turning down your thermostat by 1oC. If you’re updating, opt for a water-smart basin mixer, as your average tap can gush 8L per minute down the drain. Consider a monobloc rather than the standard twin hot and cold, preferably with ceramic-disc technology that won’t drip but will control water flow to prevent back-splash. High-pressure systems can deliver a really hard jet, so hunt for models with flow regulators to tame the problem. Taps with built-in aerators (you can also retro-fit these to existing taps) mix air with water to give you a lovely, bubbly waterconserving flow. Alternatively, you could opt for the latest eco-click designs – simply lift the lever until you feel resistance for a flow limited to 50 per cent, or push past it for full flow.