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Helping the public to identify efficiency

Over the past year, the Water Label has been seen on a much wider range of bathroom products – including showers, taps, baths and toilets – and it is being increasingly used on manufacturers’ point of sale material and literature.

Many of today’s consumers are looking to reduce their utility bills as well as their impact on the environment, and awareness about how precious water is has never been greater. In turn leading, responsible bathroom product manufacturers have introduced water efficient options, which can have a significant effect on water consumption and energy costs.

As an example, according to the Energy Saving Trust, if a family of four replaced their inefficient shower head with a more efficient one they could save around £80 on their gas bills and – if they have a water meter – around £120 off their water bills each year.

The Water Label helps installers and consumers identify water-efficient bathroom products more easily and enables them to make a more informed choice.

The voluntary label, developed by the Bathroom Manufacturers Association and now operated by The Water Label Company, provides comparative information on volumes of water use between similar products. The scheme provides easy access to a database of bathroom products that, when installed and used correctly, will use less water and save energy and money.

While the label is a useful tool that can help guide consumers towards water-efficient products, it is important for customers to make the link between efficiency and performance.

In order to ensure the end user is not left disappointed with their shower or tap, installers should explain that a product with a water label that indicates lower flow rates will usually be optimised for water efficiency, whereas a product showing high flow rates will be optimised for performance. Generally, higher performing products will use more water.

While many manufacturers have worked hard to develop showers and taps that use less water while still delivering good flow rates, the performance of a water-efficient shower or tap will always, to some degree, be compromised.

Some people will, of course, still choose water efficiency over performance, welcoming the opportunity to “do their bit”, but for others the desire to have a high-performance, powerful shower will outweigh their environmental conscience.

The Water Label can be very effective in helping consumers choose a shower or tap that is right for them, and installers should take advantage of it when quoting and making recommendations. None of us want consumers to end up with showers or taps that do not live up to their expectations because they didn’t realise that opting for water efficiency would mean making a compromise on performance, or vice versa.

Fiona Bowyer is marketing director at Bristan

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