The bathroom takes center stage in saving the environment! But what exactly will help generate a more sustainable and energy-efficient bathroom?
When the global theme in every sector focuses on the environment, looking for answers and solutions to current problems, we know everyone’s involvement matters. The International Bathroom Exhibition at Salone del Mobile in Milan expressed how technological advancements make the bathroom a more sustainable and energy-efficient room. Brands exhibited designs with energy-saving features, recyclable materials, antibacterial finishes, water efficiency, improved hygiene and indoor pollution prevention.
Changing Our Throw-away Mindset
Italian bathroom brand Laufen opened collaboration with several renowned designers such as Konstantin Grcic, Patricia Urquiola and Marcel Wanders. There’s a reason why these names continue to carry weight: They take their role as designers to heart and understand what it means.
“As designers, we are the leaders of change,” Marcel Wanders told ArchiExpo e-Magazine at Salone del Mobile.
He presented his collection The New Classic, made from a new type of ceramic that he said affords thinner, harder and stronger results. This ceramic is made and cooked differently, resulting in an original shape and glaze. When asked if this type of ceramic could be even more sustainable than normal ceramic, he said:
We have a psychological problem and not a material problem in regards to sustainability. I call it psychological sustainability. Every person and object creates a past and we must respect the past. We can no longer continue living in a throw-away society, a production of modernism, where people believe the past to be irrelevant to the present. It is not true.
Wanders mentioned that modernism is still prevalent to design today, but he believes it can be destructive. It means, according to him, that what we design today will be irrelevant tomorrow. However, his optimism shines through:
Design culture has changed over the last few years, for the better. There’s more respect for the past. It’s a good thing because if we don’t change our throw-away habits, we will not change the world. We designers have to show we respect and appreciate the past. We are the leaders of this change.
Luxurious Materials that Respect the Past
“We do not have a material problem in terms of sustainability.” Wanders reminds us that many materials which promote caring for the environment already exist—although this does not mean we won’t see more innovations on the market each year.
Kauri ancient wood, for example, is an extremely rare, old growth timber that came from trees that fell thousands of years ago. Cosentino used this to create the credenza of their bathroom furniture concept, a bathroom vanity called DeKauri, designed by Argentinian designer and architect Daniel Germani in collaboration with Italian furniture maker Riva 1920.
The bathroom vanity has a washbasin crafted from Dekton® by Cosentino. The two materials here, Dekton® and Kauri ancient wood, express how technology and nature can harmoniously join forces to create beauty. Having spent thousands of years under mud and water, the Kauri ancient wood from New Zealand is a sure example of paying respect to the past.
Respecting the past leads us into preparing the future. Gamadecor by Porcelanosa wood veneer and natural wood that is sourced from sustainable forests as regulated by its Wood Chain of Custody Control system in its new washbasin Slim. Gamadecor uses very low VOC emission systems to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by using ultraviolet curing or high solid content paint in their production systems.
Faucets and Shower Heads that Conserve Water
High-quality faucets and shower heads that conserve water through updated built-in hydraulic features and aerators make a considerable difference to long-term water conservation and reduction of utility costs in the bathroom.
Rubinetterie Stella is one of the faucet brands at the fair which presented a collection of taps that conserve water, with their iconic Italica Collection, created way back in the early 20th century, updated with the latest techniques that has improved its mechanical and hydraulic performance.
GROHE updated the ATRIO collection which includes modern taps that are fitted with GROHE EcoJoy™ water-saving technology. They also incorporate the GROHE water systems called RED and BLUE HOME, which provides water heated to 100 °C or filtered and chilled to optimum drinking temperature, directly from the faucet. ArchiExpo e-Magazine spoke to Kristine Skauge, head of PR and digital marketing at GROHE—awarded one of the most sustainable companies in Germany.
“Our newest ceramics lines include GROHE Bau ceramics and GROHE Cube ceramics. These include bathroom sinks in addition to toilet bowls. The most advanced technology used in our toilet bowls is GROHE PureGuard. This guard prevents the germs from spreading and growing on the ceramics and has an antibacterial effect. And in the bowl itself, the triple vortex will ensure that the bowl gets completely cleaned, with minimal use of water.”
Read this article about how GROHE is partnering with the German Sustainability Award 2017.
Anti-Microbial Toilets and Tiles
This year Duravit updated the HygieneGlaze 2.0, an improved antibacterial glaze that is now used in all of Duravit’s EPA WaterSense labeled toilets. The new HygieneGlaze 2.0 contains a new combination of various metal ions and active substances. It reacts rapidly to eliminate bacteria within 24 hours, with an unprecedented level of 99.999 percent bacteria eradicated.
As the HygieneGlaze 2.0 is baked into the ceramic, it tackles areas high in bacteria accumulation. The glaze swiftly kills E.Coli bacteria by use of the “oligodynamic reaction”—the effect of positively charged metal ions on bacteria
Read this article to learn about the new bathroom furniture series Brioso, designed by Christian Werner for Duravit.
Bathroom tiles are also becoming more hygienic with properties that clean the air, reduce water pollution and eliminate bacteria. Active Clean Air & Antibacterial Ceramic™ launched their new ceramic material that has self-cleaning properties, which decreases the use of harmful cleaning products and contributes to the reduction of water pollution.
In 6 hours, 100m2 of Active Ceramic cleans as much nitrogen oxides (air pollution) from the air as trees or shrubs with a quantity of leaves amounting to 22 m2. It has an anti-odor feature with photocatalysis properties embedded in the tiles that captures odor-producing molecules in the environment and breaks them down as well as eliminates the bacteria that come in to contact with the ceramic surface.