Only using efficient taps and showerheads could save a staggering 2,500 million cubic metres of water every year in the EU (enough to comfortably meet all the annual water needs of 35 million citizens), as well as 6 million tons of oil equivalent of energy for water heating. High-performing models that do not affect comfort are already on the market, and consumers will quickly make net savings on their utility bills after upgrading.
Better products come with a payback period of between 1.6 to 4.6 years for diverter taps, and 0.4 to 2.1 years for thermostatic mixer showerheads. Public policies can drastically accelerate the adoption of these innovative products.
What is the European Union doing?
The Joint Research Centre, the European Commission’s in-house research agency, has studied in 2014 how to improve the environmental performance of taps & showerheads. Their conclusion was that a mandatory energy label would be the most promising policy option. A part of the industry has reacted by proposing instead a voluntary self-established label.
The JRC has then worked on a follow-up study to better assess which approach would be the most suitable. This study has been published in May 2019, and highlighted again the vast water and energy saving potentials, but regretted the lack of progress in developing an internationally agreed test method on how to rate the performance of these products.
Without firm decisions from the Commission, there is therefore a risk that the situation remains stalled for some years.
What does the Coolproducts campaign want?
Minimum Ecodesign requirements ensuring that the worst performing products are removed from the market (e.g. taps without any tap nozzle or showerheads without any thermostatic mixer technology).
Mandatory energy labelling, including information on the products’ performance. Consumers want to know how much a product consumes, and labels are a positive force to encourage industrial innovation.