Quite clearly ‘on the same page’

24/03/2011 | Quite clearly ‘on the same page’ All the gossip, all the chatter, and all the talk in bathroom circles at the moment is about one particular topic. Sustainability. And quite right too since it touches all of us in one way or another. Whether it’s in government, in manufacturing, in marketing, or in interior design the issues of water efficiency and energy efficiency keep cropping up. Bathroom product manufacturers have been working flat out in recent years to design and develop innovative bathroom products which have both contemporary style and the lowest carbon footprint. Browsing the websites of the major bathroom manufacturers proves the point. The Bathroom Manufacturers Association represents those manufacturers. It liaises with government and informs would-be bathroom buyers about the ways in which they can save on their utility bills by installing the very latest eco-bathrooms. The BMA has also been working hard to bring the various sectors of the industry together to push home the message of sustainability. Manufacturers and importers, distributors and retailers, architects and designers, and all the media, have all been involved. “We have had an extremely successful few months,” says Yvonne Orgill, Chief Executive of the BMA. “I am delighted that we have been able to help coordinate the push for more water and energy efficient bathrooms. And we are delighted that we have been able to work with Vanessa Brady and her team at the Society of British Interior Design. It is clear that our two organisations are striving towards the same goals and the closer that manufacturers can get to interior designers the better. We are ‘on the same page!’ It’s a win win situation.” At a recent event in London, specially organised by the BMA, over 80 representatives of the bathroom industry, their PR companies and the media got together to “freshen up” their current thinking about the future of the bathroom industry. In just a few hours this mini-conference, designed to be very quick and very powerful so that delegates wasted no time away from their desks, showed how sustainability could be embedded into everyone’s thinking and how consumers could be brought on board. The main speakers discussed how the industry was working together. After an introduction to the BMA and its work with the main players in the industry, Yvonne Orgill spoke about the Water Efficient Product Labelling Scheme. This award winning and voluntary scheme - WEPLS - incorporates almost 1500 bathroom products listed in a web-enabled database at www.water-efficiencylabel.org.uk. It has been praised by Government, the water companies and The Energy Saving Trust. Bathroom products which meet strict water efficiency criteria are listed in the database and are entitled to display the WEPLS label which is similar to the energy saving label found on white goods, fridges and washing machines etc. The database also lists over 1000 stockists. “We have seen some interesting and quite major breakthroughs in bathroom product design recently,” commented Orgill. “WCs, with super-efficient flush, are now common. They are freely available and branded products, which fully conform with the regulations, are guaranteed to work effectively. Flush volumes of just 3 litres can be found – compare that with the UK average flush of 9 litres and you can very easily see the savings.” Vanessa Brady also spoke to the thoroughly engaged audience. Without notes and without the ubiquitous PowerPoint prop she talked with passion about the future of interior design and its importance to sustainability. “Every interior design project my company now undertakes involves some element of sustainability,” she said. “Members of SBID describe to me how bathrooms are playing an increasingly important role in the life of a home. Interior designers are playing a major part in the development of the built environment.” Bathroom manufacturers who are designing products with built-in eco-credentials working with interior designers who are specifying those very products, will have a major influence in improving the quality of life in the future. The BMA is looking forward to developing a stronger relationship with SBID on the sustainability agenda since they are, quite clearly, “on the same page.”

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