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HPM August 2013

Got a story? Ring us on 01732 748041 or e-mail twood@unity-media.com SUSTAINABILITY&WATERSAVING Putting a label on water efficiency Water efficiency is the key to sustainability, says Plumb and Parts’ head of marketing, Julie McLean... We use plenty of water in the UK. The Environment Agency estimates the average household uses 150 litres of it every day. So, with water bills getting more expensive how can you help your customers use less of it? Spending less time in the shower is one solution; but frankly that idea is a depressing one. A shower is the ideal way to start the day, or unwind after coming home from work. Thankfully, there’s no need for your customers to compromise their lifestyle in order to use less water - they just need to choose products that use water more efficiently. Using water efficient products isn’t just about saving money on bills though, it’s also about making water usage sustainable. This is particularly important, because scientific research suggests water could well become scarcer in the future. A GROWING POPULATION Potential water shortages in the years ahead could be caused by a growing population, combined with a larger amount of people living in urban areas, according to former government chief scientific advisor, Sir John Beddington. The challenge will be providing large populated areas with sufficient amounts of water. This scenario is known as water stress. This type of story is usually associated with developing countries, not the UK. However, you know a problem is real when President Obama’s government says it is. Obama’s former secretary of energy, Steven Chu, has serious doubts about how California will be able to provide its people with water in the future. Water stress will affect the UK too, according to research by the University of Kassel in Germany. Extreme water stress will affect many developed areas by the 2020s, including south east England. If this is a surprise, then what I’m about to say might shock - on a world ranking of water availability, from most to least, south east England would come 161 out of 180 world regions. This isn’t science fiction; it’s published in a research paper by the Royal Geographic Society on the challenges to water policy in the UK. So, we’ve established that the science world says there’s not enough water to go around in the future. What can installers do about it? Well, you can play a significant role in managing your customers’, and the UK’s, water resources sustainably. This means there’ll be enough water to go around, and at a better price. But how? Well, thanks to the Bathroom Manufacturer’s WWW.HPMMAG.COM Association’s (BMA) water efficiency labelling scheme, you can clearly show your customers how much water a product will use. That way they can make water efficient choices more easily than before. The Water Label scheme is similar to the energy efficiency labels on electrical appliances, and will move towards full labelling of bathroom products for water efficiency by the end of 2014. Choosing a new water efficient toilet or shower, based on information from The Water Label scheme, will radically cut a person’s average water usage. As the number of households with water meters rises and the government has allowed compulsory metering in areas of water stress, water efficient bathroom products should become more and more attractive to your customers. It’s also another big selling point for you. The way many of us use water in the UK at present is wasteful; 30% of the water each adult uses each day is being used to flush toilets. According to Waterwise, there are approximately 45 million toilets in UK homes, using an estimated two billion litres of fresh water every day. At least seven million of those are old style single flush toilets which use 13 litres of water per flush. In the region of five million are the latest low-flush models, which are more water efficient dual-flush toilets and use only six litres for a full flush and four litres with a reduced flush. In a nutshell, there are plenty of opportunities out there for installers. That said, there is work to be done to inform 58 AUGUST 2013 HEATING & PLUMBING MONTHLY the public about the reality of using water efficient products. Some wrongly believe, for example, that water efficient showers mean standing under a dribble of water, or water efficient toilets won’t work as well as standard ones. Too many people don’t realise that this is not the case - as a result they are missing out on the money saving benefits the Water Label can provide them with. Everyone in our industry has a big part to play in spreading the message that water efficient bathroom products do not mean a noticeably poorer user experience. The extensive research and development that goes into new products is usually aimed at using water in a smarter way, without affecting the comfort of the user. Many major retailers and builders’ merchants have signed up to The Water Label, making a series of pledges to underline their commitment to it. Those pledges include: clearly displaying The Water Label and provide supporting information to enable customers to make a more informed purchase decision; being in favour of more water efficient products; and actively informing customers about the benefits of water efficient products. This means the information is there for you to help your customers and your business. So there we have it - water is becoming a more precious and expensive resource which, as a result, means your customers cannot afford to miss out on installing products endorsed by the Water Label. Together, we can help them make the right decisions. A third of the water an adult uses daily is for flushing toilets, the Water Label aims to force a change in thinking among consumers enquiry number 142


HPM August 2013
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