Sustainability – the critical key
27/05/2014 | There is one topic above all others which has a relevance in any country of the world. In some it is a priority and in others less so. It is sustainability. This topic - the delicate balance between people and their environment – is more critical than ever to our survival. In history, where sustainability failed, the consequences were devastating. The UK Bathroom Industry has recognised for a long time that it has a responsibility to ensure that its products are the most water and energy efficient and in less than a decade the product portfolios of members of the BMA have been completely overhauled. Bathroom products are now more sustainable than ever. We have seen some interesting and quite major breakthroughs recently and many of the products installed in today’s bathroom have been affected. WCs, with super-efficient flush, are now common place. Effective flush volumes of an average 3 litres are available at great prices. Taps with built in eco-click and thermo regulating valves are freely available. These not only save water but save energy and are ultra-safe in the family bathroom. Eco-friendly shower controls and shower heads have enjoyed massive growth over the last few years. These, like click-taps, show huge savings in both water and energy consumption. And today, comfortable baths with a capacity of just 130 litres (compared with the former standard of 200 litres) are readily available. But how would a prospective bathroom buyer choose the very best bathroom to suit their requirements? “They need the tools to do the job,” says Yvonne Orgill, chief executive of the BMA. “Our staff, based in low carbon offices at Keele University Innovation Centre, have worked hard recently to develop The Water Label and the Water Efficient Product Labelling Scheme. The Water Label has grown rapidly from a germ of an idea to a benchmark scheme which is now being copied in Europe and wider afield. The web-enabled database holds the details of over 1500 water efficient bathroom products which, by default, have the lowest carbon footprint. Over 1100 stockists have registered their details with the scheme at www.water-label.eu The Water Label, which is designed to educate the public in a similar way to the familiar energy label found on white goods, clearly shows the volume of water that the product will consume if installed according to the manufacturer’s instructions’. The product data stored in the database has now been put to good use in the accompanying Water Calculator which is designed to make it easier for developers and builders to meet the new water-efficiency requirements of Part G of the Building Regulations and the Code for Sustainable Homes. The calculator was designed and developed by the BMA in association with Waterwise East. The Water Calculator at www.thewatercalculator.org.uk is the first of its kind and includes water-consumption information so that builders and developers can simply select from a drop-down menu of products to calculate the water consumption of a property. The tool auto-completes the calculations enabling quick and easy specification without the hassle of gathering data from product manufacturers. The results can then be printed off to give to Building Control inspectors and others involved in the assessment process. Members of the Bathroom Manufacturers Association have been encouraged by the very positive reaction to their work in developing The Water Label and The Water Calculator. The bathroom industry is playing its part in the push for a more sustainable future.
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