Tom Reynolds, Chief Executive at the Bathroom Manufacturers Association, underscores builders’ merchants vital role in pushing for water and energy conservation.

In an era where we face increasing environmental challenges, it is incumbent upon us, as the construction supply chain, to take the lead in promoting sustainable practices within our wider industry.

One of the arenas where we can make a significant impact is the bathroom, often overlooked by policymakers and even the trades, but a substantial consumer of water and energy.

Manufacturers stand at the forefront of influencing the next wave of green bathrooms, championing energy efficient, water saving technology. I want to encourage builders' merchants to join in that journey by advocating adoption of the green solutions with your customers.

Modern innovations offer a plethora of opportunities to conserve water and energy. Some have been on the market for some years, but adoption has been sluggish, for example, cold start taps, delay-fill inlet valves on WCs, and smart showers.

These inventions offer substantial savings – up to 50% less hot water usage, a saving of two litres per flush, and a 30% reduction in water usage, respectively. Merchants are probably the supply chain's most significant interface with installers, so you can push for the adoption of these solutions and help make the breakthrough.

But we can push further still. Water saving showerheads, aerators on taps, and installers simply promoting shorter showers could make a sea-change in our water consumption.

Yet, without our intervention, these technologies and strategies may remain on the sidelines, underused and undervalued. Builders’ merchants can actively educate installers about these innovative solutions and their wide ranging benefits. Stocking these products while providing necessary information and support is crucial to our goal.

And a simple step merchants can take is to display the Unified Water Label to communicate the properties of individual products to the purchaser. Most branded suppliers already place their products on the scheme database, and it’s a simple process for companies to list their own brand products on the scheme too.

Why should we be this passionate? The reasons are threefold: water conservation, energy efficiency, and financial savings. The first speaks to our collective responsibility towards our planet. With freshwater resources dwindling globally, the urgency to save water is more profound than ever.

The second reason underscores our role in reducing our carbon footprint – with a significant proportion of home energy consumption coming from water heating.

Lastly, but by no means least, are the financial benefits. With rising utility costs, these energy saving technologies could offset future expenditures and bring substantial savings to homeowners.

In conclusion, as the construction supply chain, we must champion the cause of water and energy saving technology in bathrooms. Our role is pivotal. By arming ourselves with knowledge and providing our clients with a range of green products, we are not just selling hardware; we are selling a sustainable future.

Doing this can reshape the narrative, transforming the humble bathroom into a beacon of sustainability. It's a challenge, indeed, but one that we should readily embrace for our planet's and future generations' betterment.