Designed to be environment-friendly, new faucets & sanitaryware also deliver the best water experience
Saving the planet and its depleting resources may seem like a daunting task, but every small drop (of effort) counts. For the bath fixtures industry, the rise in eco-consciousness has compelled them to innovate and revamp their product offerings with a pronounced emphasis on water-saving features in their new collections. New lines of faucets and bath mixers combine luxury and responsibility without compromising on design. Whether it’s through the form itself or the inner mechanisms, faucets and mixers are designed to use water moderately while still promising the ultimate in water experience.
For brands like Johnson Bathrooms, ‘water-saving’ has become one of the core drivers for product innovation. “Under our Johnson International range, we have launched single piece toilets that incorporate an efficient flushing system. With our 4D – 360 degree flushing technology, a single powerful flush uses as little as 3 to 4.5 litres of water, which is nearly 50% less than a conventional toilet,” points out Rajeev Mittal, general manager - Marketing & PMG, Johnson Bathrooms. Their new launch of thermostatic faucets offers the benefits of dual savings by providing pre-heated water at a constant optimum temperature. “This avoids water and energy wastage required to adjust temperature,” adds Mittal.
Today, brands want to offer more than iconic, aesthetically superior designs in bath products. They want to be known for their sustainable & green portfolio. For instance, Hansgrohe at a trade fair last year unveiled four new shower and faucet collections under their two brands hansgrohe & Axor. All the four product ranges – Rainfinity & Croma E by hansgrohe, MyEdition & Edge by Axor – are available to the customers in EcoSmart versions. Gaurav Malhotra, managing director, Hansgrohe India, explains the significance, “The EcoSmart technology in these products delivers a flow rate of nine litres/ minute in Rainfinity and eight litres/ minute in Croma E in over-head showers, while as little as five litres/ minute in Axor MyEdition and Axor Edge faucets, which are the best available in the industry.”
Elaborating on their own commitment to sustainability, Vikram Somany, chairman and managing director, Cera Sanitaryware, shares, “Cera has been constantly doing research on bringing down the volume of water per flush. The ordinary floor mounting as well as wall-hung Cera WCs can flush effectively in just four litres. Similarly, most one-piece WCs of Cera too flush in four litres.” It took years of research in design and fluid dynamics for Cera to perfect their water-saving bath products. Currently, Cera is promoting their most unique achievement in recent times – a three-in-one urinal. “It is a water-saving urinal with a built-in wash basin and sensor faucet. It not only saves water, but also is more hygienic, because of the touch-free function,” describes Somany.
Through research and collaboration with world renowned product designers, these premium brands have been upgrading their product range, with a focus on eco-friendly functionality. Both design and technology play an important role in achieving the green goals.
Modern bath products like faucets, bath mixers, water closets, and showers are designed to continuously push the boundaries both in terms of aesthetics and function. To create such effective as well as water-efficient solutions, brands today invest a great deal in the concept and design process more than ever. As Mittal mentions, “Through simulation and prototyping, we identify the usage of water in each product right at the design stage.” Both processes enable designers and the brand to reimagine these everyday solutions and how they function. By reimagining the design itself, many new bath solutions have been able to conserve water usage and flow without compromising on the experience.
“More than external design, it’s the internal structure of a product that makes it eco-friendly. The technology being integrated in a product decides the extent to which water-saving can be achieved,” highlights Malhotra. For instance, the EcoSmart feature is concealed within hansgrohe and Axor products. “It works by adding air and using a special flow limiter, which guarantees constant performance and a consistently powerful water jet, even when the water pressure fluctuates. It limits the flow, thus constantly conserving the precious element water,” explains Malhotra.
Every minute detail in the design helps in saving water. Materiality and the final surface finish are just as pivotal as the interior mechanisms of the products in order to ensure water-efficiency. “We glaze the inside trap of the WCs. This helps in two ways – one, better flushing efficiency, and secondly because of the glazed surface, it is better hygiene,” Somany mentions.
Lately, trending designs – especially when it comes to the form – are taking inspiration from the past. Juxtaposing the classic charm with current demands for water-saving, these new solutions offer the best of both worlds. Graff’s new free-standing bath-mixers, for example, are perfect products for those looking for a traditional style that coexists with modern elements. Graff, known for its innovative faucets and shower systems, introduced free-standing bath mixers incorporated with hand–shower that can be installed anywhere on the bathroom floor. These elegant bath-mixers come in 20 different finishes in contemporary designs as well as traditional styles. Available as a single lever or double lever and sometimes with wall-mounted or deck-mounted commands, the bath mixers feature the best in design and finish.
All Graff wash basin mixers can be ordered with eco cartridge, ensuring that the innovative, trending designs conserve water. Brands like Graff also focus on durability and aesthetics through new finishes like PVD (Physical Vapor Deposition) surface coating process. It results in high levels of surface hardness, as well as unparalleled resistance to atmospheric agents and house detergents – making the products easy to clean. Durable coatings ensure water is saved also through the minimum maintenance required for these new solutions.
Meanwhile, Turkish brand VitrA has found a totally new approach to the natural flow of water through its stylish water-saving faucets named T4. With its exceptionally sleek design and functionality, the T4 faucet transcends trends and offers robust functionality. Made with auto-clean silicon aerator, the faucets from VitrA provide a smooth flow while saving water. Built-in basin mixer with cascade flow beautifully complements the washbasins. Smooth contoured and attractive, the mixer is designed to save not only water, but also electricity.
Aerators are one of the game changing technological advancements in this segment. Today’s aerator technology in faucets – which combine air and water to increase the effectiveness of the spray/ flow – restricts the water usage significantly. As an example, Mittal points out, “Johnson Bathrooms provide solutions with a flow-rate of 5.5 litres/ minute as per green building requirements.”
Each year, the aerator technology is perfected and improved to increase the eco quotient of the new line of products. The technology has almost become a default feature in most products since it combines both efficiency and experience. Somany mentions, “We use water-saving aerators, which save up to 60% water, without compromising the user experience. For showers, there are models which mix air with water, which not only saves water per shower, but also gives a better shower experience.”
On their part, Hansgrohe has taken the water experience in completely new directions. The new PowderRain spray features innovative technology such as the individual PowderRain jets that have six fine apertures (instead of just one), which break down the spray into micro-droplets. “This is what makes this jet much finer than standard shower jets. PowderRain hand showers save upto 20% more water along with reduced noise & splashing in the shower,” describes Malhotra. In Axor MyEdition, innovations in water technology go even further. It is integrated with an internal water supply in the main metal body. The water supply is thus completely decoupled from the main body. The water comes into the cartridge by hoses where it gets mixed and then passed to the jet former. Hence, the water remains free of lead and nickel interference.
Another notable new collection is the Java range by Graff that outlines a variety of faucets featuring a flat spout and distinct shapes and lines. The collection comes with five different trims to match the Uni-Box wall-mounted system, which is Graff’s universal-box system that allows the installation of five different shower products with a unique concealed mechanism. The five solutions – a shower mixer with two or three outlets and a thermostatic unit with cut-off valve, two-outlet or three-outlet diverter – are compact and easy to install. Java represents the perfect fusion of contemporary designs, which is also created to meet the requests of the hospitality sector, where the water-saving feature is essential due to its high traffic nature.
With the undeniable water crisis plaguing most urban cities, there is a need for more innovation in bath solutions. Gradually, it will be imperative that all new solutions are intrinsically eco-friendly – be it the affordable category or mid-range and premium products. In the high-end portfolio, Somany believes that AI (artificial intelligence) will soon enter the bathroom industry—from WCs and faucets to showers. As an intuitive technology, it will conserve resources far more effortlessly and also help track water consumption and behaviour.
In the meantime, brands like Johnson are planning to launch progressive cartridge basin mixer, which helps in saving energy and also protects small children from scalding hot water. The cartridge will ensure the water flow will start from cold and then progress to warm safely. These impressive new solutions aside, brands will need to focus on offering these products at competitive, affordable prices. Mittal is confident that it’s possible, saying,“Some of our innovations have resulted in water-efficient products at the same price as regular options. Going forward, considering lifecycle costs, water-saving products will work out cheaper.”
Water-saving bath solutions are clearly the need of the hour. Thankfully, the new line of products entering the market offer diverse choices to consumers. With a willingness to invest in top-quality bath faucets and more, consumers can not only transform their bathrooms but also do their bit to protect the environment.