The European Water Label : an unintended consequence

07/07/2016 | The continuity of our natural resources is one of the most important issues facing our future generations. With that in mind, the European Water Labelling Scheme was created and is now firmly established across Europe and beyond. The scheme’s online database and accompanying product label shows the water-consumption characteristics of bathroom and kitchen products using a simple-to-understand approach so that consumers and industry professionals alike can choose products to suit their lifestyle and budgets in an informed and educated way. But what was once a simple idea is now proving to be a major design influencer in the Bathroom and Kitchen industry. An unintended consequence of its development is that the Labelling Scheme is proving to be a ‘catalyst for good bathroom design.’ The award winning European Water Label has been developed steadily and prudently. The scheme is now, undeniably, the most important labelling scheme of its type and has become a huge catalyst for change in both product and layout design. It is a force for good. Bathroom and kitchen manufacturers are working conscientiously to develop products which are both water and energy efficient whilst maintaining excellent performance and consumer satisfaction. Those who have products listed in the online water label database are known to be winning orders against their competitors who don’t. Manufacturers are pitched against each other in the race for the most efficient products in their particular category. While it is recognised that the latest products are designed to consume less of our resources the European Water Label has re-emphasised that even more significant water and energy savings can be accomplished through strong consumer incentives to replace their older plumbing products with the very latest water-efficient alternatives. A major reduction in water consumption could be achieved if householders were incentivised with a straight no-nonsense cash payout, to replace their old water guzzlers. A similar scheme to reduce old central heating boilers a few years ago proved a massive success. Latest research, commissioned by the Bathroom Manufacturers Association, gives an analysis of the bathroom amenities of the 23 million households in England. It shows that 44% of England’s houses still have toilets flushing with 7.5 litres or more. Since the latest toilets flush with a maximum of 4 litres it follows that 10 million of English homes use twice the amount of water than they need to. If the existing water guzzling toilets were replaced there is a potential to save at least 644 million litres of water per day in England alone. EWL is now urging government to develop and implement a robust scheme to deliver monetary incentives to encourage both householders and businesses to purchase well-designed replacement water-efficient toilets, showers, bathroom and kitchen taps and faucets, and other plumbing products. The latest products show no loss of performance but they do show massive reductions in water and energy consumption. By design. www.europeanwaterlabel.eu

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