Eco thinking

Water usage in the UK is on the increase due to a combination of lifestyle changes and a growing population. The current annual rise of 1% is unsustainable and if it continues will have far more noticeable impacts than the occasional hosepipe ban. Therefore, it has become imperative that water consumption in the UK is dramatically reduced.
Research in this field shows that ‘bathrooms’ account for as much as 70% of all the water used in the house, highlighting it as the ideal place to start looking when considering where to make savings. The challenge though continues to be how to encourage homeowners and end-users to change their current practices.
In order to ensure water is used more efficiently, bathroom brands such as iflo are continually designing new products to help end-users to reduce their water consumption. The simplest way to achieve this is to actually create products that work on a ‘fit and forget’ approach, which means that water is saved without the user having to make a conscious behavioural change. It is, in fact, design aspects integrated within the product – such as less water per flush in a cistern – that help to make the reductions.
At iflo, the desire to create more efficient products led to the creation of Eco – a range that  provides water-saving benefits. Easily identifiable by its own mark, a standardised calculation allows the direct comparison to be made (based on average household usage) between the products in this range and those that are not considered to be water efficient.
Jo Axtell, Senior Marketing Manager at iflo, believes that the development of the Eco mark was an essential move at a time when the bathroom industry was just beginning to switch on to the potential for new technological advancements.
“Our initial interest for energy and water efficiency was greatly increased by heightened awareness amongst our customers and colleagues coupled with current government initiatives which has led us to look more closely at our products, and focus on features and benefits that could save on household costs and help with the bigger challenge of water conservation.”
The bathroom offers such huge potential for water saving measures because every product can be adapted to help reduce consumption. From showerheads to WCs, intelligent design coupled with the latest technologies can deliver noticeable changes to the amount of water being used in a bathroom – and therefore a home.
The Eco range from iflo can help make significant savings not only in terms of usage by reducing capacities on products such as baths and toilets but also through stopping water wastage with products such as Eco click taps and delayed action inlet valves, which are fitted into the cisterns of toilets.
While there are undoubtedly some ingenious technological developments required to design more efficient products, a simple approach can also yield success. Redefining the shape of a bath or designing shallower wash basins can discreetly reduce daily usage by simply lowering the overall capacity. For example, as part of its water-saving range, iflo has developed Eco Fill baths to hold a maximum of 130 litres. This small adaptation is estimated to save in the region of 84 litres per day.
Another product that iflo has developed help regulate water usage for the bathroom has been a range of taps with ‘eco click technology’. By designing a tap with dual settings, it has been possible to create two different flow rates. The resistance within the unit means that it is natural to open it to the water efficient setting, allowing the lower flow rate to be used for general functions such as hand washing or teeth brushing. When a faster flow is needed, however, the tap is simply ‘clicked’ into a more upright position. It is estimated that using the eco click tap correctly creates an average saving of 32 litres per day.
When making water usage calculations for new-build properties, it is assumed that a toilet is flushed an average of 4.42 times a day. This means by reducing the capacity of the cistern, it is possible to make a big impact on the amount of water consumed in a property. As well as limiting the fill of the WC, many bathroom brands – including iflo – have introduced the dualflush capability. This allows even less water to be used when using the reduced facility. In fact, iflo has made available the option to of its dual flush Rhea WC to a cistern capacity of just 4/2.6 litres. This means that as little as 13.5 litres will be used per person per day – a huge saving when compared to older, inefficient toilets that can use nearly 60 litres per person per day.
By continually analysing ways in which products can be improved to reduce water consumption, there is always the potential to make massive reductions to the average household’s water usage/ wastage figures. Of course, in order for the maximum savings to be obtained, it is essential that the products are used correctly and, unfortunately, this is something that manufacturers have very little control over.
“It’s important to remember that all of the potential savings are just that – potential – because of the habits of individual homeowners and the limitations of the homes themselves. At iflo, we ensure that the new products we launch comply with the latest sustainable targets and government legislation for water efficiency as well as ensuring that any necessary performance standards are attained. This means that we are confident that whatever the installation, Eco products will make a difference.”