Unlike a bedroom where a new coat of paint, a few lamps and a fresh set of curtains can transform the room into a fantastic renovation piece, a bathroom requires much more complicated, informed decisions that are often tied to technological advancements. An outdated bathroom is not only aesthetically unpleasant; it also utilizes significantly more water and energy than it should, and would, if it incorporated contemporary products. Besides taking advantage of the opportunity to be responsible for protecting the environment while striving for substantial reductions in utility costs, innovative solutions are a great way to attract and retain increasingly knowledgeable hotel guests.
Millennial and X-Generation travelers uphold high ecological values. In this regard, both technology and a savvy building approach comes in handy to make an impact on the environment, cut utility costs, and become appealing to the most demanding customers. The best projects do three things at once: reduce water use, champion in-situ energy efficiency, and incorporate materials with low embodied energy levels.
According to the “Water Conservation Guide for Commercial, Institutional, and Industrial Users” report, bathrooms account for 30 percent of the total water use in hotels, which makes them the highest contributors, followed by food services and HVAC systems, with 25 percent and 20 percent respectively. To conserve water, we typically suggest an easy to follow two-step guide: First, install a water-efficient toilet. They use a lot less water per flush, saving in the long run. Second, use a water-efficient showerhead. These can either be aerating or non-aerating. The former works by pressuring water in the showerhead and simply squeezing it through tiny holes, resulting in an effect that is harder than usual. The latter works by mixing water with air in the showerhead, resulting in soft, bubbly water for a more enjoyable, highly luxurious shower experience.
Look for the WaterSense Label
Whatever you decide to do, remember that not all low-flow toilets and water-efficient showerheads are created equal. So be ready to spend a few extra dollars on a highly effective product that carries the WaterSense label—it means the product has been thoroughly tested to meet EPA’s (Environmental Protection Agency) criteria for water efficiency.
While these are all viable, widely accepted strategies worth pursuing in the name of reducing water use, the eco-friendly bathroom has just gotten smarter, and new digital products have entered the market to step up the game. By further reducing water use while delivering a luxury experience, digital shower controls are here to stay.
They do not only regulate water temperature and control water flow. Top-notch performance and a wall-mounted sleek interface come together for the ultimate shower experience that is at your guest’s service before, during, and after their routine showers throughout the day.
Multiplex Digital Shower Controls can feature a WiFi module, allowing guests to prepare their shower of fill their bathtub at precisely the right temperature before they wake up or return to their room after a day around town. Once in the shower, a bright RGB LED display underneath a black, or white glass fascia indicates current water temperature and flow rate. A sleek rotating wheel allows guests to manipulate temperature, water flow, and electronically control three outlets. Further, the system can be programmed to prevent scalding and burning by automatically shutting off at a specific temperature, therefore ensuring a risk-free, highly pleasurable experience. Once fresh and ready, you and your guests can access robust metrics regarding the amount of water and energy previously used, and even compare it against historical data for increased awareness. Truly a smart shower system.
Consider ‘Embodied Energy’
Beyond in-situ energy consumption, embodied energy is an important concept to consider throughout the material selection process. Manufacturing and transportation of various building materials have a sizeable impact on the environment. So, much thought should be given to the selection of products that are to be used as part of a bathroom renovation or new construction. In general, designing for longevity and durability is of utter importance. Finishes with high recycled content should take precedence over their less eco-friendly counterparts. Recycled tiles and doors are great opportunities to reduce a building’s total embodied energy, as is the use of materials made from renewable energy sources.
All in all, the right accessories and materials can make a big difference in an eco-friendly renovation or new construction, and quickly put a building ahead of the curve to meet market demands. The above has tremendous experiential benefits for guests, and compelling benefits for hotel owners from an economic, ecological, and marketing perspective. Environmental improvements such as energy-efficient showers reduce energy usage, complement modern designs, and present digital interaction features about which new generations appreciate and love to talk.
Fatima Reis is a content writer for the Aquatica Plumbing Group.