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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 yearend 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.


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