Form, Function & Eco-Sense in Bathrooms

Showertronics iV6 Jaquar

Efforts towards conserving water and energy have drawn fresh focus on washrooms as an important area in a sustainable building construction
By Seema Gupta

The sanitaryware market today is offering technological improved products with significant water and energy saving features. These include dual flush toilets, sensor-based faucets and flush systems, waterless urinals, faucets with flow restrictors, vacuum toilets, integrated water closets and intuitive controls. Consumers are realizing that reducing water consumption is a major step they can take towards creating a sustainable environment. At the same time, they want products that are trendy and which coordinate aesthetically with their home interiors. The emphasis on green buildings is also driving development of eco-friendly systems, whose high performance and sustainabilityare their best selling points.

Renu Misra
Grohe has carved a niche in the sanitaryware space with its intelligent solutions and high-end products. Its innovative SmartControl technology is seen in its Rainshower® SmartControl 360 Shower System with its XXL size of the head shower with 360 mm of width. Elaborates Renu Misra, MD, Grohe India, "100% intuitive controls means that the user can fix his/her preferred spray pattern, water temperature and water flow with a personalised volume setting and memory function. It's simple, smart and eco-friendly too as there is no unnecessary usage of water. The other technology backing this seamless shower control system is the Grohe TurboStat® that enables the thermo-element to deliver water at the desired temperature within a fraction of a second, and keeps it constant for the entire duration of the shower. The Grohe CoolTouch® technology ensures that the entire outer surface never exceeds your preferred shower temperature."

She adds, "Indian consumers have displayed a high proclivity towards adopting high-tech, eco-friendly and sustainable fixtures in their bathrooms. More and more consumers have begun to appreciate the value of water and energy-saving products. They are keen to spend on luxury, but not at the cost of energy. We have observed a huge market for sensor technology in both residential and commercial spaces. Touchless faucets ensure optimal hygiene and maximum ease while showering. They supply water only when needed and also enable pre-setting of optimal water temperature. They usually feature a flow-limiting mousseur (piece of metal added to valves to reduce water consumption) while giving a satisfying and voluminous flow."

Grohe TurboStat

Based on research and utilizing modern technology, Hindware introduced Nano - a product which highlights the power of technology to meet sustainability needs of today, besides offering functionality and comfort. According to the company, this one piece 'green' WC saves up to 1,24,100 litres of water per year because it flushes in 1.5 litres only. Plus, its foot pedal flush enhances the hygiene quotient. The product has received the CII GBC 'Most Innovative Water Saving Products' award at the 7th edition of the prestigious 'CII GBC National Award for Excellence in Water Management 2010' and Elle Deco International Design Awards India 2010.

Manish Bhatia
NANO brand Hindawre
Says Manish Bhatia, President, Building Products Division, HSIL Limited, "Our efforts to create a sustainable future have granted us a UPC - I star rating certification by the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials. Hindware has the largest range of star rated EWCs with reduced water consumption during full flush and half flush, and is the first to introduce Nano EWC with super-efficient 1.5 litre flushing. The Indian market is increasingly accepting technologically advanced products in the bathroom space, whether it is next generation automated toilets, advanced functionality rain showers, sensor-based products or digital valves. Private home owners usually tend to take the lead, while high-end hospitality projects also adopt advanced products, especially showering and sensor-based touchless products."

Duravit had reduced the amount of water consumed by its toilets to six litres as opposed to the nine or more litres that were standard at the time. This was in the 1980s. Today, Duravit toilets use just six, four and a half or even less water. At the international level, Duravit toilets flush with a low flushing volume and carry the 'EPA WaterSense High Efficiency Flushing' label. The Dual-Flush technology has further enabled a household of four to save another 17,000 litres of water per year. The economy button is used to flush away liquid waste with just half the water volume; the large button for full water volume, while the Stop+Go button interrupts the flush.

Ashutosh Shah
Duravit DuraStyle
Duravit's electronically controlled Utronic urinal with individual flushing and service programmes guarantees a high level of hygiene and low water consumption. Selecting the various preset flushing programmes is child's play with the magnetic key that comes with the urinal. The automatic infrared sensor control triggers the economical 1-litre flush as soon as the user has moved away. "The flush cannot be trigged by inanimate objects or people walking past. The urinal flushes automatically 12 hours after the last use to prevent any odours from developing. With its compact form and discreet integrated placement of the control unit, Utronic offers protection against vandalism, which is another important aspect with regard to sustainability," informs Ashutosh Shah, Managing Director, Duravit, India.

Hansgrohe India's EcoSmart and CoolStart are the company's eco-friendly offerings that help save water and energy automatically. EcoSmart products maintain a constant minimum water flow rate at varying pressure in the line. In standard mixers, the heater starts up immediately when the mixer lever is lifted, but in CoolStart products, the piping system does not fill up unnecessarily with hot water, rather, hot water is added when the lever is moved to the left. In products that incorporate the company's AirPower technology, air is sucked via the showerhead which mixes with the incoming water in balanced ratio of 3:1 such that the air enriched water droplets become plumper and softer.

Anitha Sharma
Hansgrohe Bathroom
Avers Anitha Sharma, GM- Marketing, Hansgrohe, "Hansgrohe is well known as a reliable bathroom partner, and it is not just a tagline created, but an honour achieved during years of hard-work. Technology and sustainability are not just adopted buzzwords but are in the DNA of Hansgrohe. For instance, our flexible concealed installation technology – the iBox Universal that hit markets 15 years ago, is still recommended to our customers. iBox Universal is a basic set that is required to be installed only once while constructing a new bathroom. In case of renovation in the future, all you need to do is change the old fixtures with the latest ones. It facilitates concealed installation of more than 200 pre-fab mixer sets and shower systems from Hansgrohe's range of products. This is an advantage for new construction projects, but it also makes renovating incredibly easy when bathrooms have to be upgraded. It is so simple and practical that it allows plumbers to connect any type of fixture without the need for major construction work. There is no need to waste efforts and resources on destroying tiles unless you want to change them as well."

Jaquar's evolutionary luxury brand Artize - Showertronics iV6 is an experiential and intuitive electronic thermostatic mixing system that has a simple waterproof touchpad interface; it provides a better, more precise, and a more reliable job of giving water at the desired temperature. Features include an automatic start-up that lets the system automatically set itself up after installation. A 'warm up' mode preheats the shower for the user by flushing out cold water until the desired, preset temperature is reached. The water temperature is kept constant and its six intelligent valves, sensors and software keep the water flow steady at the rate one chooses during showering. This ensures that there is no risk of scalding from sudden temperature increase and no surprising shocks if the temperature drops.

In the 'Pause' mode during soaping or shampooing, the system automatically finds the exact temperature and flow rate of the shower when restarted within three minutes. The user can store preferred settings in its memory, including the water outlet, the flow rate, and the temperature. The Automatic Internal Cleanup flushes water for 10-15 seconds from all outlets to remove lime and impurities from the outlets and pipes. Its Thermal Disinfection feature, (recommended to be done annually) flushes hot water through all outlets for 5 minutes – at the maximum temperature available in the water heater for maintaining hygiene.

Sandeep Shukla

Sandeep Shukla, Head - Marketing Communications, Jaquar Group, explains, "Unlike conventional thermostats, Artize Showertronic iV6 is capable of auto-calibration, stabilizing the water against any external change in pressure, water flow or temperature, even if the pressure differential of cold and hot water goes up to 5 bars. The system is also built to be safe from the high voltage peaks often encountered in India. And in case of power failure, it offers uninterrupted showering with its battery back-up. This smart system also detects shower malfunctions and displays alarms on the interface display when the system spots problems that persist for over 5 seconds."

Pau Abello
Given the space constraint in modern high rise studio apartments, Roca's integrated WC concept comes as a boon. The company's latest IN-TANK Meridian WC includes the cistern within itself, has a Soft Air® technology, noise-free flush, and a soft-close seat cover. An air pump pushes the water from the tank to provide the dual 4.5/3 litre flush. Says Pau Abelló Pellicer, Managing Director, Roca Bathroom Products, "We have anticipated the future and the changing needs of bathroom users, and provided the products way ahead before the need arises. Our IN-TANK Meridian WC with its compact and well-rounded shape makes it an apt choice for smaller bathrooms as its compact size enables space-optimization. The single body WC eliminates the need for installation of cistern or flush plate. We believe that innovation reigns in our industry and with this Roca has once again redefined the bathroom space through its latest technology in water conservation, practicality, design and concern for the environment."

Kohler WC
Geberit's product lines in sanitary ware and fittings include installation systems, cisterns, faucets, flushing systems, waste fittings and traps, piping and drainage systems. Its urinal system, for instance, has the urinal flush control integrated into the ceramic appliance as a solution for waterless operation. Optimum flushing is achieved with as little as 0.5 litres of water. The individually adjustable flushing programmes, such as the interval flush or the 0-litre solution without any flushing process at all, achieve even lower water consumption. The practical docking station makes maintenance as it enables easy access to all the functional elements, without having to remove the urinal ceramics. Matching components of the urinal system, different urinal ceramics and flush controls, diverse range of actuator plates, and matching divisions offer design freedom to homeowners.

Builders and developers select sanitaryware based on the size and brand image of their building project(s), the costs involved, and services offered by the sanitaryware supplier. Architects and interior designers base their buying decision on the design features such as the shape, colour, texture and finishes of the bath fittings and sanitaryware, while the plumbing consultant would consider the cost and quality of the products.

Affirms Manish Bhatia at HSIL, "Plumbing systems do not have a major impact on technologically advanced products. The type of plumbing only defines the kind of product one can install, for example, floor mount or wall mount toilets, exposed or recessed bath shower valves. Consumers are generally advised by plumbing consultants ahead of a new construction/remodeling project, so these concerns are taken care of from the very beginning. While electricity, and to a lesser extent water supply, are still erratic in places, there are solutions such as UPS and pressure pumps that can overcome these challenges. Advanced products being developed for the Indian market to a large extent are being tested and modified to overcome these issues too. So overall, we are seeing much better response to these products now."
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