According to a research by Nielsen, a market data and insights firm, businesses with an emphasis on sustainability see a positive return not just in customers’ perceptions, but in financial terms. Its study of consumer attitudes across 60 countries found that 55% of consumers would pay a premium for products and services offered by eco-friendly and socially responsible companies.
But what happens to the theory when it comes to commercial bathrooms? Are property developers willing to stretch the initial cost to realise long-term savings? The answer is yes and no. Depending on the sector and the customer profile, and not the least the year-end financial analysis, owners decide on the products they will go with.
In high-traffic areas such as bathrooms, especially those located in hotels and public venues, one would think that due to the high usage, it is sensible to make an investment which is worthwhile — both financially and environmentally — in the long run.
According to industry experts, toilets can account for 15% to 40% of the total water usage. Installing 1.6 gallon toilets as compared to the common 3.5-gallon can add up to annual savings of $13,482 in water and sewage costs for a 300-room hotel.
However, a shift can be seen in the bathrooms, which are being designed to underscore the environment by decreasing consumption of resources.
For companies such as Roca, Grohe and Geberit, managing the entire production process through to the end of the cycle treatment for these fixtures is a vital policy.
Others such as Kohler, BagnoDesign and Jaquar are investing their resources in good design which minimises energy consumption.
However, it must be stressed that sustainability shouldn’t be inversely proportional to user experience. Particularly in luxury hotels, where guests pay top dollar for special treatment and amenities, it can be a challenging task to balance the two. Smart solutions coupled with ethically-sourced luxury materials and finishes such as those for flooring, walls, vanity countertops, as well as tap fixtures can be a good starting point.
With property owners and designers working in tandem with each other, this is a challenge that can be addressed, even as we become increasingly more aware of our responsibility towards the environment.