Sustainability and Design – drivers for growth

25/03/2013 | In the year ahead sustainability and design will be seen as the key drivers for growth in the bathroom industry. As always, innovation in product design is vital for generating new business. New, sustainable and stylish products which perform without compromise can, and do, go hand in hand and will be crucial to our industry’s future. The search for sustainability in the bathroom is gathering pace and the last few years has seen dramatic progress in the push for water and energy efficiency. The EU Commission is acting quickly through its 2102 Water Blueprint, Climate Change Targets and Energy Efficiency Policy, to try to balance the supply and demand for what they describe as ‘one of the most precious resources on earth.’ Richard Seeber, MEP and Founder and President of the EP Water Group, is keen to create ‘sensible incentives’ for saving water. Writing in the BMA’s Water Is Life magazine (downloadable at http://ow.ly/jo4Y9) Seeber says ‘We must strive to save water. But let us think about creating incentives rather than imposing constraints. Voluntary water efficiency labels can be an important first step.’ Members of the Bathroom Manufacturers Association have done much to design and market water and energy efficient products. Technically advanced bathrooms are pushing the boundaries of engineering and materials technology. The industry has also expanded its voluntary water labelling scheme and the last twelve months has seen The Water Label adopted in the 27 countries of Europe. Yvonne Orgill, CEO of the BMA, says ‘The Water Label will perform a major role carrying information to everyone and will drive improved water efficiency needed by us all. It will be those retailers who embrace the latest products and inform their increasingly eco-savvy customers of their performance characteristics who will get the foot fall and the competitive edge.’ But sustainability doesn’t mean reduced performance or less stylish designs. Design goes hand in hand with water and energy efficiency. Breakthroughs in new materials and production techniques are enabling manufacturers and their designers to create stunning bathroom products which incorporate new colours and textures, surface finishes and gorgeous organic shapes. Every corner of the bathroom is being re-engineered to bring products to market which perform better than ever yet are eco by default. Our increasing desire to save water for the survival of our future generations doesn’t mean performance and style has to be sacrificed. Experience now shows that the two do go hand in hand and will be crucial to our industry’s future.

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