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Wed 18 Jun 2008 04:00 AM

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Sanitary solutions

Products installed in bathrooms can help reduce energy and water consumption. Facilities management Middle East profiles just some of the products available in the market.

Products installed in bathrooms can help reduce energy and water consumption. Facilities management Middle East profiles just some of the products available in the market.

Each part of a building can help play its own part in creating a sustainable environment and the bathroom is no different.

"Sanitary and plumbing products play a major role in our usage of electricity and water and have an important part to play in the conservation of energy, as well as the effect on our environment," says Tony Dewan, Glotra Trading.

There are three main consumption areas in a bathroom – sinks, toilets and baths/showers.

There are three main areas of water and energy consumption in a bathroom - sink, toilet and bath/shower. In some cases, a separate shower cubical might be installed, along with a bidet.

"In a typical household, four people will use approximately 9,000 gallons a month or 108,000 a year. That's enough to fill a bathtub over 2,500 times. More than half of this usage occurs in the bathroom, from toilets, baths and showers.

Leaks in bathroom taps do not help the situations," adds Dewan.

Bathroom product manufacturers have become dedicated, committed and determined to ensure their products reduce energy and water consumption.

And in a region that now demands sustainability as a minimum standard, building owners are being forced to purchase these products that are often deemed as more expensive.

"There is bound to be a difference in the cost of these energy saving products, but unfortunately, many decision makers have a very short term view on this. The fact is, the long term saving through usage of these products far outweighs the initial investment," adds Dewan.

Flavel Monteiro, chief operating office and renewable energy consultant, Renewed Solutions agrees with Dewan and says companies can expect a return on investment (ROI) in a period of around one to three years.

For those facilities managers looking for a reputable bathroom product manufacturer, here are just some that offer environmentally friendly and sustainable solutions. Roca

Roca's commitment and dedication to the environment started in the 1960s with the introduction of a reduced water capacity toilet system.

Since then, its products have evolved and today, Roca proposes that all of its mixer taps should be fitted with devices to reduce water consumption by up to 50%.

This can be done by fitting Ecodisk, Plus and Star cartridges that regulate water flow and limit the temperature.For example, all single lever taps in the Touch collection have a strong indicator cartridge that helps reduce both water and energy consumption.

"Roca is doing all it can to reduce waste so that in the future, our factories will produce zero waste. Everything will also be reused or recycled," explains Victor Schoon, regional manager, Roca Middle East.

Energy saving methods is implemented at all of Roca's factories. Initiatives include converting residual heat into electricity and using recycled materials while manufacturing foundry products.

Its latest initiative aims to reuse shower water to flush toilets.

Background

Roca was established in Spain in 1917 and to date has almost 10,000 products on the market and 20,000 employees.

With a turnover of US $2.5billion, it has become one of the leading environmentally friendly sanitary ware manufacturers, with products available in over 100 countries.

Originally, Roca made cast iron radiators, expanding its range in 1925 to include cast iron bathtubs. The company then extended its product range again in 1936 with the introduction of porcelain sanitary ware, taps made their debut appearance in 1954 and ceramic tiles in 1980.

Hansgrohe

Last year, German bathroom manufacturer Hansgrohe, launched an improved aerator system that injects more air into the water supply to reduce consumption.

The patented Rubit aerator is compliant with all the company's fixtures and a precise elastomer integrated into the device, limits water flow to 7.2 litres a minute.

This is done by the aerator automatically responding to changes in water pressure by changing its form.

"Sustainability is very important for me and my company. When we purchase our materials, we make sure that everything complies with all of the legal guidelines and standards for the markets we serve. In addition, our development department constantly reviews out products.

Whenever we can, we choose environmentally friendly alternatives," says Holger Ruf, marketing communications manager, Handgrohe Middle East.

The Raindance Rainfall showerhead was launched in 2007 and water output is carefully balanced. Although the head is large in size, the Rubit special spray regulator can perform numerous tasks in unison.

It holds back suspended particles, forms the spray, reduces the level of noise and limits the amount of water used. Background

Hansgrohe was founded in 1901 by Hans Grohe in Schiltach, Black Forest.

Product lines started with the production of pressed metal ware and it now develops, manufacturers and sells products under four brands: Hansgrohe, Axor, Pharo and Pontos.

In 2006, the company experienced a 20% increase in sales bringing its total up to a record US $902.9 million.

Employment also saw an increase, with close to 300 additional staff being employed in 2006 compared to 2005. Geberit

Behind the scenes piping and installation system provider Geberit, uses technology and 3% of its annual turnover to ensure its products are innovative, creative and most of all, environmentally friendly.

The piping side of its business focuses on water supply and drainage, while the installation systems side looks at concealed cisterns and flushing solution that are compatible will all types of sanitary ware.

With Geberit's actuator plates designed to use less water when the system is flushed, the onus is then quickly pushed back onto the customer by giving them a choice of flush - a light flush or a 6/9 flush.

The light flush will only use three litres of water.

But Guy Wilson, head of the Gulf region of Geberit, says developers and building owners are still responsible.

"Building owners should consider the life cycle cost of the building and understand the real long term cost of selecting low quality products during construction. Not to mention the environmental impact of inferior sanitary fittings which are prone to leaking and thus waste vast amounts of water."

"The future of the bathroom lies in technology. Infrared facets are water-saving, hands-free, touchless and more hygienic and this is the way things seem to be heading," he explains.

"It is proven that infrared sensor taps save a huge amount of water in a commercial applications, as we have seen in Mall of The Emirates."

Background

Established in the late 19th century, Geberit started making wooden lead-lined cisterns and later developed the cistern flush valve.

In the Middle East, its contracts include the Burj Dubai Lake hotel, Oceana Residence, Raffles Hotel and the Shangri-La Qaryat Al Beri in Abu Dhabi.Caspar Melchior Gebert-Domeisen opened his workshop in Switzerland in 1874 and the business stayed in the family until 1999 when it became a publicly listed company.

Around the 1950s, Geberit developed a plastic cistern and then introduced the first concealed system. Sustainability become of significant importance in the 1990s and has since influenced Geberit's strategic orientation.

Product range

Geberit's product range of environmentally friendly solutions includes it concealed cisterns that offer dual flush water saving benefits, electronic taps guaranteeing water savings through intelligent electronic control, urinal flushing systems that ensure water economy in public washrooms and Geberit recommend the HDPE drainage systems as a friendly alternative to other drainage systems.

Renewed Solutions

Waterless urinals have started to become more and more popular within the region due to their ability to use no water and the recent sustainability mandate issued in January this year.

Each urinal can save between 15,000 and 45,000 gallons of water every year. They also reduce maintenance costs, the amount of time and materials used to clean them and general maintenance costs.

"Due to the dryness of the fixture, bacteria growth and odours are eliminated through the minimal use of BlueSeal. A patented EcoTrap is the simple solution saving up to 45,000 gallons of water and sewer usage a year, per urinal," explains Flavel Monteiro, chief operating officer and renewable energy consultant, Renewed Solutions.

They can be installed during construction or as part of a retrofit.

Background

Renewed Solutions is the sole distributor for the Waterless No-Flush urinal. It started distribution around October 2007.

The manufacturer, Waterless Company, is the original manufacturer of Waterless No-Flush urinals. It has been recognised as the world leader in this specific product and won 2006 Product of the Year by the Consulting Specifier Engineer magazine.

Renewed Solutions was also launched last year when work started on the increasingly popular green building concept. Monteiro is a registered LEED associate professional (AP).

Waterless no-flush urinal

The Eco-Trap system installed in the Waterless No-Flush urinal retains sediments and acts like a filter. It will need replacing one to six times a year according to traffic.

The elimination of water saves 15,000 to 45,000 gallons of water a year, per urinal. The product can help companies achieve three LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) points. Grohe

While Grohe's message is to enjoy water, says the company's regional marketing director, Selim Semaan, it is also environmentally conscious.

"Most of our products relate to water saving. Our Turbostat is one of our most water saving devices. You push one button to get the right temperature you want, rather than spending five minutes to get the right temperature.

Then we have our infrared taps and toilets for public spaces, that's another was we are saving water," he explains.

The company's Ondus range incorporates a 'pause' function that allows the user to temporarily stop the water flow and resume it to the same settings and temperature when needed.

The range also allows the taps to be programmed to controlled intermittent water bursts, for example, water release every two seconds every minute for brushing teeth.

Grohe is also developing water flow limiters, which it says will add more air into the water mix therefore reducing water consumption.

Background

With a turnover of US $1.61 million in 2007 (from the kitchen and bathroom fittings and showers, automatic fittings for the commercial and contract sectors and installation and flushing systems) 5,200 employees and presence in over 130 countries, Grohe is no doubt one of the largest manufacturers and suppliers of sanitary fittings.

Its revised Environmental, Health and Safety Policy says, "...the entire product life cycle is considered at the design and development stage to create safe products with economical use of resources and for along service life."

The company's headquarters are still situated in Hemer and Düsseldorf and in 2007, its export rate stood at 84%.

Eco-friendly cleaning

Installing water and energy saving products is just the start of a company's commitment to sustainability. To see the dedication through until the end, there are a variety of cleaning products available to keep bathrooms maintained:

• Enviro-Clean is a specifically designed spray that can be used on the inside surface or urinals. It needs no wiping and prolonged use can help extend the life of the trap;

• EverPrime prevents drain traps from drying out. It can be used for both temporary or permanent protection of trap seal for abandoned drains;

• GreenClean is an all-purpose cleaner that can be used on any restroom surfaces. It is non-abrasive, helps prevent water surface encrustations and removes hard scale;

• Signature is a long lasting deodoriser for restrooms and offices. It can also be used to mask odours at trap exchanges.

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