Water-saving technology exists which can cut water consumption in homes by up to 40% and which could play a crucial role in the drought-hit South-east and areas undergoing massive house-building programmes. Green Building Store, a leading UK supplier of sustainable building products, is adding its voice to organisations calling for all new homes in the region to be fitted with water-efficient fittings as standard. It is calling for the Government to change current Regulations to make water efficiency in new homes mandatory.
Average domestic water use in the UK is 150 litres per person per day, but water–efficient products and design make it is possible to reduce this to 90 litres per day. Current Regulations call for new build homes to be installed with 6 litre WCs but flush volumes could be reduced by 25% with ultra efficient 4.5 litre siphon flush* WCs. It is also possible to make taps and showers more water-efficient without sacrificing comfort or hygiene. Shower flow regulators can reduce shower water flow to 6-9 litres per minute (compared to the 16+ litres per minute used by power showers). Basin taps can also have flow regulated aerators fitted which can control their flow to a perfectly adequate 6 litres per minute. Such measures could have a significant impact on water supplies. It has been estimated that if developers of all projected homes in the South-East fitted ultra-efficient 4.5 litre WCs, 7.5 million litres of water could be saved per day.1
Green Building Store believes Government Regulations have not yet caught up with the current advances in water-saving technology, nor with the urgency of the water shortages in the South-East. The Government’s current proposed ‘Code for Sustainable Homes’ due to come into force in 2007 does contain water standards for new housing, but the Code will not be compulsory. The Government has also recently committed to develop new regulations to improve water efficiency in buildings. Green Building Store believes the changes can’t come quickly enough. According to Director Chris Herring, “Water-saving technology is now available which could make an enormous impact on water scarcity in the South East. Installing it in new build housing as a matter of course will have a much greater impact on water supply than expecting customers to retrofit water-saving products.”
Green Building Store is urging people in the drought-affected regions to write to Government Ministers on the issue. For more information on Green Building Store’s water saving products go to www.greenbuildingstore.co.uk or ring 01484 461705.
1. Calculated using figures from Environment Agency/ Southern Water report: Performance Assessment of Low Volume Flush Toilets report 2004
Assumptions: Domestic water consumption = 150 litres per day; 500,000 new homes to be built in the south-east by 2026; 2 people per household; ES4 water-efficient WCs reduce water consumption in new build homes by 5%.
*NB Since this news release was released the flush volume of the ES4 WC has reduced even further to 4/ 2.6 litres.