How the German sanitaryware industry is moving forward

Frankfurt am Main, 12th March 2013. Blue Responsibility, the initiative for sustainable sanitaryware solutions, issued some short statements for the start of ISH, the world's leading trade fair in this sector. The experts Rupprecht Kemper, Managing Director at Gebr. Kemper GmbH & Co. KG, Hartmut Dalheimer, Managing Director at Keuco GmbH & Co. KG and Dirk Lückemann, Managing Director at Schell GmbH & Co. KG presented the current issues underlying all brands and which are causing the German and European sanitaryware industries to move forward. The statements focused on the importance of drinking water quality, on bathroom design due to demographic change and on European water policy.

One thing is clear: Drinking water quality comes before energy efficiency
It should be as clean as possible and at the same time consume as little energy as possible – the requirements for quality and provision of drinking water are high. "Water has to keep flowing" is a central principle when it comes to complying with drinking water quality since germs and bacteria multiply very easily in stagnant water. To avoid this over the last few years the German sanitaryware industry has developed new and innovative solutions. And once again at this year's ISH visitors can look forward to examining interesting new developments, for instance, in circulation systems for complex drinking water installations. Through their sustainable sanitaryware solutions German manufacturers are playing their part in both maintaining water quality and in saving water. But not only in our country should the priority be on maintaining drinking water quality. Now there is a situation where too little water is flowing through oversize supply networks which can lead to germs forming. Nor from the point of view of saving energy, has the reduction in water use been effective, as in Germany only 3.1 percent of the entire energy is consumed by hot water in private households. Not even half of this is used for bathing, showering and personal hygiene. Saving water at any price – even if this is the objective of current EU plans – can also be counter-productive. Drinking water quality comes before energy efficiency.

Bathroom design through demographic change
In addition to drinking water quality, the German sanitaryware industry is becoming increasingly focused on the issue of demographic change. However, due to medical advances and a more responsible lifestyle, people today not only live to an older age, they also remain healthy and active for longer. Higher life expectancy brings changes in habits as well as in wishes and requirements – and this also extends to the bathroom. Customers demand holistic, individual, flexible and functional bathroom designs that meet the needs of every user on the one hand and satisfy the highest aesthetic demands on the other. Modern bathroom designs are therefore created so that they can be used by everyone without adaptations and at the same time are enjoyable to use. "With its wide range of universal bathroom designs, the German sanitaryware industry is also meeting its social responsibility. At the same time, thanks to its timeless designs, it helps save raw materials" says Dalheimer summing up. A new short film from Blue Responsibility "Bathroom designs – moving from today to tomorrow" presents a wide range of bathroom design options which create bathrooms that are safe, simple and stylish. The film can also be viewed on the new information platform at, which Blue Responsibility has set up to coincide with the start of the tradeshow.

Impacts of European water policy on the sanitaryware fittings industry
Two years ago the Water Efficiency Label "WELL" was created to focus both on water consumption and also on parameters relating to energy consumption and hygiene aspects of water. The European sanitaryware fittings industry therefore feels that it is well placed to comply with the European Commission's new water strategy. To date 23 companies have products classified in accordance with WELL. While the provisions of the ErP Directives will be binding, the European Commission is working on voluntary product declarations under the keyword “Eco-Label”. This label considers product efficiency over the whole product life cycle. "The support from EUnited Valves has enabled wide-ranging conformity with the requirement criteria of the Eco-Label and the WELL-label to be achieved" stressed Lückemann. This aims to create a solid basis for confidently countering legal initiatives at a European level.