Sustainable showering | Every last drop

Sustainability is becoming a focus for shower choice and designers need to embrace and share water-efficient technologies with their customers

05 Jun, 23

Sustainability is becoming a focus for showering and designers need to embrace and share water-efficient technologies with their customers

Showering | Every last drop

The award-winning Bubblespa from Kelda Showers combines air and water to create droplets, reducing water, energy and carbon emissions by up to 50%.


With showers widely acknowledged as the biggest consumer of hot water in the home, and a drive by Government to reduce water use and CO2 emissions, it’s no surprise sustainability is a focus of showering.

Head of marketing and Innovation at Methven UK Chris Billingham explains: “Historically, we have not had great water pressure in the UK and there is now a level of overcompensation for that.

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“Increased flow rates and high-pressure systems across she UK are optimised to use significant amounts of water.

“This now means we need to take steps and put measures in place to curb excessive us and preserve what is ultimately a finite resource.”

The recent Plan for Water by the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), stated Government would work with industry to set minimum water efficiency standards, as a statement read: “Power showers average around 12 to 15 litres of water a minute, with many using much more than this. The average amount of time spent in the shower is eight to 12 minutes, so if you had a flow rate of 15 litres per minute for a 10 minute shower you would be using 150 litres of water.

“That is more than a bath, which uses an average of 80 litres. A family of four could save as much as £270 a year on their water and energy bill by installing a more efficient shower head.”

Eco-conscious consumer

Interestingly, the swing towards sustainability has also been mirrored by consumers becoming more eco-conscious in their life choices.

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Methven Aurajet Aio is available as a overhead drencher, handset and shower kits, with selected models in a choice of chrome and matt black finishes


According to a UK Shower Market Survey, conducted by Grohe in 2020, over half of consumers wanted a shower that could assist them in being sustainable in their day-to-day-life (54%) and nearly two thirds of respondents valued the importance of whether a shower has been sustainably produced.

Perhaps spurred by the cost-of-living crisis, saving water, energy and therefore money offers great appeal in shower choice.

In fact, such is the consumer interest, Kelda Showers was recently presented an Ideal Home Bathroom Award 2023 for its Bubble Spa shower head.

Using air and a fan to create large water droplets, can reduce water flow, energy and emissions by as much as 50%, while creating a spa-like environment.

Performance and price

And that has been one of the biggest concerns around water efficiency, that there shouldn’t be a payoff in performance. Nor would consumers be prepared to pay a price differential just to be environmentally friendly.


Sustainable showering | Every last drop

Hansgrohe Pulsify Planet Edition handshower uses 6 litres of water, is made from recyclates, where possible, and is chrome-free


Chris Billingham of Methven UK replies: “All our showers operate at 8 litres per minute or less. However, we offer a range of products that meet different price points. This means customers can still enjoy showering at a lower flow rate without compromised performance, while meeting their set budget.”

Director of sales at Neoperl UK Chris Neath says it’s a matter of education along the supply chain: “The technology is available now to reduce the flow of water very easily and yet for a comfortable shower to be possible, especially since the developments of an aerated flow.

“There is an is an education required to the retailer and consumer and habit changes for the fitter to audit the flow on installation and adjust/reduce the flow accordingly.

“The question then becomes how do we incentive the installer to do this?”

Senior product manager at Ideal Standard Stacey Seagrave explains how the company supports its showrooms, commenting: “At Ideal Standard, we’ve a dedicated team that supports our retail network and are on hand to provide partners with everything they need to deliver the best service to customers.

“This includes bringing staff up to speed on new technology, and the sustainability credentials of the products, so they can provide the correct information and advice to end-users.

“Our showroom designers also work with individual retailers to curate display areas and highlight solutions and their benefits – from stunning designs to innovative green technology.”

Recycling and recovery

Showering technology spans flow restrictors and air injection systems, which have been around for some time through to the recent developments of heat recovery wastes and water recycling showers.

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The Kaldewei FlowLine Heatrecovery shower channel uses heat from the shower water to preheat the cold water on its way to the shower fitting


Kaldewei, which uses BlueMint steel for its enamelled shower trays reducing carbon emissions by 70%, introduced the FlowLine Heatrecovery shower channel at ISH 2023.

Head of sales at Kaldewei UK Adam Teal comments: “A massive quantity of hot water is wasted as it flows unused down the drain. The new Kaldewei FlowLine Heatrecovery shower channel uses heat from the shower water to preheat the cold, fresh water on its way to the shower fitting.

“A heat exchanger integrated into the waste ensures efficient heat recovery so significantly less hot water needs to be added to guarantee a pleasantly warm shower temperature.”

While Spring 2024 will see the market launch of the Grohe Everstream water – the company’s first recycling shower.

It is currently being field tested with a training programme for installers expected to start in the second half of 2023.

In addition, the bathroom manufacturer is also aiming to have all its Grohe concealed showers water-recycling-ready by 2030.

Ronke Ugbaja at Grohe UK & Lixil EMENA reports: “The Everstream system uses as little as a quarter of the water and a third of the energy typically required by traditional showers.”

Shower life cycle

While water consumption and consumer behaviours are at the spearhead of showering, designers and specifiers considering the holistic credentials of a product are met by manufacturers who have considered production, packaging and shipping.

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The Grohe Everstream water is the company’s first recycling shower and reportedly uses as little as a quarter of the water and a third of the energy typically required by traditional showers


Hansgrohe’s Pulsify Planet Edition handshower, which uses 6 litres of water, is made from recyclates where possible and is chrome-free.

While Ideal Standard has also introduced Alu+ showers made from recyclable aluminium that is made up of 84% recycled content.

Stacey Seagrave of Ideal Standard continues: “The range is completely free from chrome, lead and nickel, and also features all of the water-saving technology people expect, such as flow limiters that restrict consumption to just 8 litres per minute for the hand spray and 12 litres per minute for the rain shower.”

In addition, for ease of identification, selected showers come complete with Environmental Product Declarations and Ideal Standard has introduced the EcoLogic label – focusing on energy and water efficiency, hygiene, sustainable materials and sustainable value chain.

Legislation driven

Certainly, sustainability is only going to grow in significance in bathroom design and, in particular,  the showering space, especially if legislation gains ground.

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Alu+ is a range of showers, from Ideal Standard, made of recyclable aluminium and which is made up of 84% recycled content in a choice of Silk Black, Rose and Silver


Ultimately it may see all shower set-ups becoming sustainable across the board.

Stacey Seagrave of Ideal Standard concludes: “A mix of consumer-driven demand, regulations, legislation and manufacturer progress will be the key broad strands for shower set-ups to become more sustainable across the board.

“The legislation will be the true force behind these changes, though, making manufacturers adapt, and helping consumers to achieve more sustainable showering set-ups.”