Heating hot water accounts for 25% of home energy usage and 60% of domestic water is used in the bathroom. Using water efficiency helps to reduce energy demand and ultimately reduces carbon emissions. Therefore, efficient sanitaryware is an important element in a low energy building and has become a requirement of sustainability certification systems. Bathroom retailers can play a key role in raising awareness of the importance of minimising hot water usage both through specifying efficient WCs, washbasins and showers and by promoting individual behavioural changes.

To raise awareness of this issue a Water Matters campaign was rolled out in Ireland. As part of this campaign, a one-hour online training session was developed to raise awareness amongst bathroom retailers of the importance of specifying efficient sanitaryware. Included in this training was an outline of how energy is used in the production and distribution of potable water. Also, example calculations of water usage of in a 4-person household and the energy needed to heat the water were outlined. Finally, the training promoted the benefits of using the Unified Water Label and their associated Water Calculator for both consumers and building professionals.

This Water Efficiency training was delivered to in two sessions to a range of employees of Sonas, Ireland’s leading bathroom supplier.  A further session will be delivered to Sonas staff in April. In order to reach a wider audience, a training video, based on the content of this training will be produced and shared with the bathroom retailers engaged in the Water Matters campaign. Positive feedback has been received from the Sonas employees who reported they were now more confident in recommending efficient sanitaryware to architects submitting for sustainability certification such as the Home Performance Index.