Each person in the UK uses approximately 150 litres of water a day; a figure that has steadily increased by 1% each year since 1930. With many Brits unaware of the volume of water used in their homes, we've launched our sustainable bathrooms research project to highlight the issue and discuss the potential solutions.

Sustainable features include a steel bath with insulating layers, FSC wood wall surfaces and bath seat, and stone floor tiles with underfloor heating
The wood shelf is made from FSC-certified wood which is sustainably sourced, maintaining habitats and minimising risk to the environment.
The bathroom features a solar, thermal heated shower/waterfall, and abundant natural light – with triple glazed viable tint glass walls, recycled glass tiles, stone floor tiles with energy efficient underfloor heating, and a recycled porcelain bath with heat insulating gap
The steel bath with insulating layers is extremely durable and can be recycled. It also retains heat for longer with the help of insulating layers
It features a body drier, radiator and FSC wood wall surfaces. Using a body drier instead of towels is sustainable as it reduces the amount of energy spent on washing drying and ironing
Featuring a smart shower system that flashes red when too much water has been used – with body drier and radiator
Smart shower system turn red when you use too much water
Featuring a toilet with smart flush to save water, FSC wood shelf and abundant natural light so less electricity is used for lighting purposes
Featuring reclaimed wood furnishings and skirting, a toilet with smart flush, and energy efficient LED lighting
Featuring recycled glass tiles, FSC wood shelf and laminate wall surfaces. This bathroom also benefits from natural light via a defuse skylight, biometric sensors with smart OLED mirrors, and automatic energy efficient LED lighting
Featuring energy efficient LED lighting, FSC wood shelf, recycled glass tiles, and biometric sensors with smart OLED mirrors
Sustainable materials and smart technology are brought together to create the ultimate luxurious sustainable bathroom

How To Create a Eco-Friendly Bathroom

In order to fully depict the ideal way to develop a sustainable bathroom, we worked with a 3D designer to bring our research to life. Highlighting five key areas of easy improvement, we'll show you how to achieve an eco-friendly bathroom while remaining on trend.

Waterwise Research Officer and Leeds University spokeswoman, Grace Harland, explains the importance of creating sustainability in the home and the bathroom in particular.

“Many everyday consumers are unaware of the volume of water used in their bathrooms and throughout their homes, mainly because of the affordability of water and the notion that the UK is not water stressed. However, introducing ‘sustainable bathrooms’ could reduce energy and water consumption considerably. This is important since it could save consumers money in the long-term and also promote sustainable living.”

The ideas discussed in this project have already shown reduced water wastage:

“Water saving devices such as low flow taps (tap atomisers) and showers, as well as dual flush toilets are relatively inexpensive and effective, in addition to replacing old lights with LEDs in relation to energy consumption. Whilst more expensive changes, such as the installation of floor heating and high efficiency toilets and showers, are likely to be more relevant to housing developers."

5 Easy Tips To Make Your Bathroom More Eco-Friendly

  1. 1. Use Natural and Recyclable Materials such as steel bathtubs
  2. 2. Reduce Flush Volumes & Toilet Water Consumption
  3. 3. Replace all light bulbs with LEDs
  4. 4. Install Thermostatic Mixer Taps and Showers with Flow Limiters
  5. 5. Choose taps and showers with aerators

Use natural and recyclable materials such as steel bathtubs

The materials your bathroom features are made of can go a long way to making your bathroom more sustainable. Steel bathtubs are incredibly hardwearing – for instance, German firm Kaldewei produces tubs from a unique steel enamel that's guaranteed for 30 years. And unlike acrylic or fibreglass, which normally end up in a landfill when they reach the end of their lives, fittings made from steel can be recycled.

As well as the bathroom fittings themselves, decor elements made of recyclable or recycled materials can help make your space more eco-friendly -  for instance, reclaimed timber can be used to make a feature wall, while recycled glass ornaments can add a chic and sustainable touch to your design scheme.

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 Reduce flush volumes & toilet water consumption

Perhaps surprisingly, toilet flushing is normally the single highest use of water in the home. But the amount of water we waste every time we flush the loo has seen a dramatic reduction over the years. In the 1960s, for instance, a 13-litre flush was commonplace, while today's dual flush toilets are often designed to use just 6 or 3 litres, depending on the strength of flush.

New rimless models could lead to even greater savings. These toilets, developed in Germany, are cleverly designed to get more flushing power out of less water. They're highly efficient, often using a dual flush setup with as little as 4 and 2.6 litres, and the rimless design means they're more sanitary and easier to clean too.

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Replace all light bulbs with LEDs

One of the clearest eco-friendly choices for a bathroom, LEDs offer plenty of benefits with very few drawbacks. Not only do they last around 40 times longer than conventional incandescent bulbs, they use less power too – as much as 90% less.

While they do pose a higher initial investment compared with incandescent bulbs, this is offset by their lifespan and efficiency, and they only keep getting better: it's estimated that by 2030, LEDs could be up to five times more efficient.

What's more, they are available in a huge range of colours and colour temperatures and are highly customisable. This is ideal if you're looking to strike a certain mood in the bathroom, or want to be able to control the lighting for a perfectly relaxing bath time.

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Install Thermostatic Mixer Taps and Showers with Flow Limiters

Flow limiters and thermostatic mixers can be seen in the designs. "Flow limiters are a way of controlling water usage especially when developers are building to part-G specification where by using flow limiters earn them points towards their eco standards target," explains Contracts Director, Reg Abrahams. "Although we feel that this is something consumers should be encouraged to install, too, due to the huge benefits."

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Choose taps and showers with aerators

One innovative way to make shower water go further, without compromising on water pressure, is to fill it with tiny air bubbles. An aerator behaves a bit like a sieve, sluicing the water into separate streams and mixing it with air. This means the same pressure, but a reduced water flow overall – essentially, it's just making the water in your shower head work that bit harder.

Aerators don't require any major work or plumbing experience – anybody can fit them easily. Older taps flow at a rate of around 15 litres of water per minute, but an aerator can reduce that to as little at 6 litres. For many bathroom tap-related tasks, like washing your hands or wetting your toothbrush, you won't even notice the difference – but you'll see a big difference in your water usage over time.

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More ideas for sustainable bathroom design

Choose Forest Stewardship Council-certified wood

Commercial logging can have a huge impact on biodiversity, as huge areas of pristine forest are cleared and the habitats of thousands of creatures along with them. You can make a difference by choosing products certified by the non-profit Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) – look for the distinctive logo on the packaging.

By only buying FSC-certified timber products, you ensure that what you're buying comes from a forest that's managed sustainably; that means habitats are maintained and trees are felled at a rate that doesn't damage the environment. It may seem like a small change, but it's one that's helping to encourage responsible forest management around the world.

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Opt for Reshoring & Buying British

While the recent depreciation of the sterling has caused upset around the country, there may be some positive environmental aspects to a weaker pound. It could make the UK an attractive place for manufacturing again, and consequently common furniture products – many currently made in China and shipped here at considerable cost to the environment – will be again made at home.

As well as the improvements from having fewer polluting container ships sailing the seas, UK-based production lines are far less carbon-intensive than China's, so the industrial impact is lower too. In other words, buying British may soon not only make good financial sense, but good environmental sense too.

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Add a body drier

Energy-efficient hand dryers like the Dyson Airblade have already helped to drive down the environmental cost of public washrooms, and it seems a similar technology could help us follow suit in our own homes. Innovative products like the US-made Body Dryer store air in a pressurised container, which is then blasted out in a vortex around the body. The pressurised air emits negative ions that break up water molecules faster.

The humble towel might still seem like the most eco-friendly option, but when you take into account the hours spent drying them on radiators, the energy used to wash and spin-dry them and the impact of manufacturing, and the Body Dryer may well succeed the towel as the drying solution of the future.

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Always choose high quality products

Choosing quality, hardwearing products over cheaper options just makes sustainable (and often financial) sense. The cost of installation is the same in either case, but cheap fittings tend not to last as long – meaning not only do you need to pay more in the long run, but the environmental cost is higher too.

Bathroom products are generally very energy-intensive to produce, but choosing fittings that last a lifetime can make a considerable difference to the long-term sustainability of your bathroom. It's a principle you can apply across your entire home – say no to disposable culture and insist on quality!


Sources

https://www.kaldewei.co.uk/products/baths/

http://www.solutionelements.co.uk/Downloads%20copy/WCstate%20of%20the%20art.pdf

http://www.waterwise.org.uk/pages/indoors.html

http://www.duravit.co.uk/inspiration/bathroom_ideas_be_inspired_/the_best_toilet_of_duravit.com-en.html

https://www.savewatersavemoney.co.uk/water-efficiency-tips-advice/view/120/tap-aerators---how-do-they-work.html

http://www.fsc-uk.org/en-uk

http://www.myledlight.com/benefitsofledlighting.aspx

https://www.ledluxor.com/top-10-benefits-of-led-lighting

http://www.apresbodydryer.co.uk/

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/the-body-dryer#/

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The The Sustainable Bathroom Collection