Water efficiency in two simple steps

Tom Reynolds, CEO of the BMA, reveals how it is engaging with Defra to shape the mandatory water labelling and water efficiency policies.

The Government recently announced its intention to introduce new mandatory water efficiency labelling. The Government will consult through 2022, as a joint exercise by two departments, Defra and BEIS, due to water efficiency having a great knock-on impact on the ability to achieve carbon neutral targets. The legislation is expected by 2024.

BMA members are starting to have their say on the outline proposals. “There is a difference between water efficiency and efficacy” was one telling remark from a recent BMA Sustainability Forum. It is technically possible to manufacture the most “water efficient” shower. But if it delivers a pitiful dribble of water to the user, this will force longer shower times and entirely defeat the purpose of promoting such a product. Functionality will be critical to any mandatory scheme.  

Retailers will already recognise the potential for confusion among consumers when buying bathroom products. Therefore, manufacturers’ channel partners in retail and installation have a key role in public engagement and making all the Government’s water efficiency efforts
a success.

The BMA is in continuing dialogue with Defra about the plans for the label as there is lots to consider. If reducing domestic water consumption is to become a driver in the refurbishment market as it has in new build, we need consumers to understand and desire efficient products. 

It’s clear from both BMA and member research that water and energy efficiency are not on the public radar when it comes to desirable bathrooms. We need to nudge public opinion on water savings. The industry-led Unified Water Label (UWL) has been a first step and, indeed, exciting water efficient R&D has already taken place, but not enough. 

We know about the Government’s environmental objectives in respect of water and energy, and their commitment to deliver these objectives in a way that ‘minimises the impact on consumers’ is laudable. 

In reality, retailers can get ahead of any new mandatory requirements right now, by displaying the Unified Water Label (UWL). 

At the BMA, we are committed to working with the Government on progressing the plans for the mandatory UK requirement – a task which will shape the future of this sector and have an impact in millions of homes across the UK. Manufacturers are onboard and ready to innovate and develop the existing UWL. This is one of the critical steps to progress the water saving agenda, but without the public engagement, the exercise is futile. We need consumers to feel motivated and empowered to save water. .

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