Sustainability must be driven “from the top”

Manufacturers and legislation must lead drive for sustainable kitchen and bathroom projects

29 May, 19

Kitchen and bathroom professionals believe for sustainability to become more important in projects, it must be led by manufacturers and changes to legislation.


In the live Twitter chat #KBNConvo, held by Kitchens & Bathrooms News, trade professionals said few consumers ask about water and energy efficiency or renewable materials, so the drive must come “from the top”.

Kitchen retailer @tobygriffin2 commented “almost none” of his customers show an interest in sustainability and his comment was echoed by kitchen and bathroom retailer @kucheandbagno which reported: “Unfortunately it’s a very rare occurrence. We do however work closely with self-build clients and developers for them to meet regulations and make new homes as energy efficient as possible.”

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Installer @BkBoilerService added: “Where customers require under sink water heaters I find that is the time they begin to ask about how efficient different products are. Although it usually reverts back to how much it’s going to cost.”

Whereas retailer @KitchensbyNick reported his customers were embracing sustainability: “Five years ago I would have said 1/20 would show a faint interest in sustainability/efficiency. However, today, it is every other client. We have certainly moved on from large A++++ rating stickers on appliances sufficing clients’ curiosities.”

He added: “With the ever increasing energy costs, clients are certainly beginning to ask the question. Water-saving not so much. We are based in Scotland therefore many clients find it hard to think that we will ever run out of water.”

However, the Bathroom Manufacturers Association @BMAbathrooms replied: “With it being suggested that the UK could be short of water within 25 years isn’t now the right time to be pushing for water efficiency before it becomes a huge issue?”

Industry professionals did, however, agree everyone in the supply chain had a responsibility to create more sustainable projects.

This is despite @tobygriffin2 commenting: “While the industry has such a low-profile (oh so different to the US) it’s difficult for us to be the drivers of attitude change.”

Kitchen and bathroom retailer @lisamelvindesign argued: “We all need to do our part #Savetheplanet. ” And there was a call for more education for both consumers and retailers, alike.

@KitchensbyNick said its showroom featured Stormer UK (@stormer_uk) furniture, pointing out sustainability and eco-friendly materials were part of the manufacturer’s ethos

When asked how kbb professionals could introduce sustainability to clients, @tobygriffin2 said designers could look at the better use of space, rather than building extensions: “It comes back to the fact that we should be designing rooms/homes to be better not necessarily bigger and with less expensive (pounds and cost to environment) of un-necessary bling.”

Whereas @kucheandbagno offered the advice “There’s so many ways to illustrate to clients how they could make £££ savings on their monthly bills and help the environment first and foremost would be how the designer implements this in their own home will have a strong impact.”

The kitchen and bathroom retailer’s view was re-iterated by @KitchensbyNick who stated: “One way to easily entice clients is to highlight the potential economical savings to be made over time. Focusing on products that will reduce their energy consumption and reduce their waste is a tick in the right box for anyone purchasing a kitchen.”

However @KucheandBagno added: “It’s got to start from the top and have the enthusiasm and drive from the manufacturers.”

And @KitchensbyNick agreed: “I think the real responsibility is down to the government to put pressure and impose regulations on manufacturers to produce sustainable products and manufacturing processes.

“That said, as middlemen we should look to promote the products that are currently available.”

He said to promote and create more sustainable bathroom and kitchens projects: “Minimum sustainability requirements need to be toughened and incentives introduced to home builders. Provide tax relief and special accreditation. It is hard to change people’s mind sets, so force them to change.”

Concluding, the discussion kitchen sink, tap and hood manufacturer @Franke retorted: “Designers, manufacturers, retailers and installers all have a responsibility to encourage behaviour change among consumers, this doesn’t just mean waiting for legislation to come in.”

See the industry’s view #KBNConvo on retailing in the current climate.

The next #KBNConvo will take place on June 28, 2019, 12-1pm