Feeling flush

Don?t throw your money down the drain; The Big Project grills three bathroom solutions suppliers to uncover the best sustainable, cash-saving devices

Kohler, Grohe, Duravit ME

How do your bathroom fittings reduce water consumption?

Kohler’s Nada: Kohler can help operators save money in several aspects from water saving to decreasing maintenance and installation costs. In faucets, specially-designed water-saving aerators help reduce the flow of water to a level (1.5 gallons per minute (GPM)) that can save up to 30% of the total water used per day.

Infra-red faucets help reduce water consumption by empowering the user to get the flow of water when needed only by placing their hand in the range of the photocell to activate the flow. Toilets have newly-designed flushing mechanisms that have reduced water usage from 3.5 gallons to 1.28 gallons saving up to 22,000 gallons of water per fixture per year (calculated based on 10,000 flushes per year). Water conserving shower heads and hand showers that have a reduced water flow deliver an impressive 1.75 GPM saving 30% of water consumed by traditional hand showers which is 2.5 GPM. Finally, Kohlers newest product is the Hybrid battery that lasts up to 30 years.

Grohe’s Halabi: Our self-closing mixers dramatically reduce water consumption; one model has an interruptible function and an adjustable flow-time between five and 45 seconds, which can save up to 50% water when compared to conventional fittings.

The average faucet uses 9-12 litres per minute (LPM) compared to a Grohe ceramic cartridge standard water-saving feature, which uses 2.5-6 LPM.

Similarly with a Grohe dual flushing system, the half flush can be adjusted to consume between three- and 4.5L and the full flush can be adjusted to consume between 4.5- and nine litres. In a hotel with 300 bedrooms, for example, by using Grohe fittings instead of conventional solutions, an operator could expect to save 22,000 litres per day (LPD) in a guestroom, 5000 LPD in the lobby and 6300 LPD in the hotels leisure areas; resulting in a 33,500 LPD saving across the hotel.

Duravit ME’s El Kadi: Duravit was among the first, back in the early 1980s, to research and calculate the ideal balance between toilet-bowl geometry and volume of water, resulting in a product that functioned effectively with as little as six litres of water, where as others, in those days, still needed nine to 14 litres. Today, we offer WCs from series such as Starck 3, Duraplus or Vero that can flush hygienically using 4.5 litres of water according to European standard EN997. The dual-flush button also saves water. With its McDry urinal, Duravit was even able to prove that it’s possible to do away with water altogether. A specially-developed, plant based — and therefore biodegradable — sealing liquid successfully suppresses any unpleasant odours.

The McDry’s siphon is not made from plastic, but, like the urinal itself, from sanitary ceramic and therefore has an unlimited lifespan. Hence the product not only reduces water consumption to zero, it’s also resource-efficient compared to urinals with plastic siphons that need replacing regularly.

Alternatively, the Architec urinal flushes automatically with just one litre and Wondergliss-coated Duravit ceramics and glass make aggressive cleansers unnecessary.

Is the low-flow flush likely to lead to more blockages?

Grohe’s Halabi: We don’t have data relating to this, but if you experience problems you can increase the flow as the fittings are adjustable.

Does Kohler’s new Flipside shower reduce water consumption?

Kohler’s Nada: Flipside is not a watersaving product. Flipsides uniqueness is in its innovative Flipstream technology where the face rotates to four different positions providing the user with different flows; Koverage, Kotton, Komotion and Kurrent.

What are the financial benefits of reducing water consumption in a commercial property?

Kohler’s Nada: Commercial properties have to minimise their running costs; water consumption is part of these costs. Reducing the volume of water consumption leads to an overall decrease in costs.

Can you reduce water consumption without compromising the perceived luxury of the bathroom experience?

Duravit ME’s El Kadi: Design should never be an excuse for lack of function. Every product has to be easy to assemble and of real practical value. This means that any unnecessary water consumption is reduced. Good design is also available for those on a tighter  budget. This is why we generally take a step back from products that are pure luxury ‘monuments’.

Grohe’s Halabi: Our hand mixers mix air into the water flow so it still feels luxurious. Also, our products have a built-in flow limiter, which can be adjusted to restrict up to 2.5 LPM.

Are developers interested in installing sustainable sanitary solutions even if they do not intend to retain the asset?

Kohler’s Nada: Consumer awareness of water-saving products is growing at very high rates especially in an area like the Middle East region where water is a scarce resource. In the US and Canada, the government has helped consumers install water-saving products by offering them different kinds of incentives for sustainable operation.

Grohe’s Halabi: You don’t have to pay more to save more. In other words, we have water-saving devices that meet any budget and/or design anyone is looking for. Savings range from 30-67% when compared to conventional fittings.

What are the environmental implications of intelligent cost effective bathroom solutions?

Duravit ME’s El Kadi: Consideration of the impact on the environment must be an integral part of production. Over the past years, we have invested millions in technologies that ensure we now use much less water and energy in our production processes. This involves reusing water, reusing energy and utlising waste in energy production.

Can properties be retrofitted with cost saving fittings?

Kohler’s Nada: Water-saving fittings are like any other traditional fittings. If the property is new then they are installed in the construction phase after the internal works are done to finalise the project from the inside. However, if the property has already been built and functioning, water-saving fittings can be installed and replace the old pieces.

Can you give an example where your products have been implemented and generated considerable savings?

Grohe’s Halabi: Grohe installed 20 water-saving faucets in Abou Hamed Al Gazali Mosque in Dubai, in association with Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA), with average daily savings in water consumption totalling 26% when comparing water consumption between July and December 2008 and the same period July to December in 2009.

What quality can consumers expect from German manufacturers?

Duravit ME’s El Kadi: Services and products developed in Germany are held in high regard all over the world and are often based on know-how that has been built up over centuries.

Duravit introduces one or two new ranges every year and is practically unique in helping to diversify the sanitary ceramics market.

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