Today we hear from Tom Reynolds, Chief Executive of the Bathroom Manufacturers Association, who explains how considered bathroom specification will help the industry weather market turbulence and aid the environment.

If most of the forecasting is to be believed, those working in the built environment are in for a tough market in the next 18 months. Yet commercial considerations aside, a pressing question we face is, “How can we contribute to the needs of our environment?” As leading voices in the construction and design industry, architects and specifiers bear a significant responsibility in promoting sustainability in their projects. One such opportunity lies in an often-overlooked space: the bathroom.

The bathroom, surprisingly, represents a significant portion of the water and energy use in our buildings. However, thanks to several recent innovations, we now have the tools to turn this water-intensive space into a model of conservation and efficiency.

Imagine bathroom fixtures such as cold start taps, which only deliver hot water when needed, reducing hot water usage by up to 50%. Or consider delay-fill inlet valves in toilets, which can save 2 litres per flush by waiting to fill the cistern until after flushing. Smart showers even sense when they are not in use, reducing water usage by up to 30%.

Beyond these solutions, more traditional water and energy-saving methods are also at our disposal. Promoting the use of water-saving showerheads, installing aerators on taps, and designing bathrooms that encourage shorter showers can all contribute to significant savings.

However, architects’ and consulting engineers’ roles go beyond selecting these efficient fixtures. I urge you to advocate for these water and energy-saving technologies, educating your clients about the benefits of these green alternatives. We can do this by weaving a compelling narrative around three critical advantages: water conservation, energy efficiency, and financial savings.

Water conservation is a global concern, and these technologies allow us to contribute to the effort. By reducing water consumption, we are actively preserving our planet’s precious resources. Equally important is energy efficiency. A lot of the energy in homes is consumed by water heating. By reducing hot water usage, we can make our designs more energy-efficient and sustainable. Finally, we should recognise the potential financial savings. These technologies may have an upfront cost, but the long-term savings on water and energy bills can more than offset this investment.

In summary, architects and consulting engineers wield significant influence on the adoption of water and energy-saving technology in bathrooms. By advocating for these technologies, considering them in designs, and communicating their benefits, you can make bathrooms not just functional but also sustainable. Let’s seize this opportunity to shape the future of sustainable living, one bathroom at a time.