Go green with recent trends in shower heads and faucets
Shower heads and faucets can make a world of a difference in your everyday life and ecosystem.
Interest in eco-friendly designs is on the rise in 2009, according to the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA), with metering faucets on the market, as well as flowoptimized shower heads and other faucets that meet LEED requirements. Another key to efficiency is asking your design professional to consider “first hour rating” — the amount of water used in the busiest hour of the bathroom — when selecting shower heads.
“Bathrooms have the highest water usage of any room in the house,” said Molly Erin Mc-Cabe of NKBA. “To help minimize water consumption, choose water-saving faucets such as a sensor-activated faucet and low-flow shower heads.” Federal mandate is 2.5 gallons of water flow per minute, but there are some units with output of only 1.5 gallons per minute.
Also on the rise is an interest in chrome in the bathroom, which produces a spa-like feeling. Clean, modern, polished chrome faucets well with chrome towel bars, and complement porcelain tile floors and walls. And if you want to go high-end, go fearlessly. Brands such as Brizo boast showers with a 12-gallons-per-minute flow rate, thermostatic valve for anti-scald protection, and an expansive showerhead o ering for wallor ceiling-mount installation. Multiple shower heads make life a little bit more lavish, as do hand showers, body sprays and body jets.
Safety is always a relevant concern when planning the design for any bathroom, so plan accordingly. A recent National Safety Council study shows that nearly 200,000 people are injured each year in the bathroom. To stave o injuries, NKBA recommends using valves that are pressure-balanced and temperature controlled, as well as installing faucets in areas that are easily accessible from outside the tub or shower. Most importantly, avoid a setup in which you would have to stretch for the water, which leads to slips, falls and burns.
The NKBA recommends placing faucets on the sidewall opposite the seat “between 38 and 48 inches above the shower floor… The controls and shower unit should be on the control wall within 15 inches of the centerline of the seat.” And, make sure hand-held shower heads are at least 59 inches for use as both a hanging shower head and a hand-held one. For roll-intype showers, NKBA says “shower spray units mounted on the back wall should be no more than 27 inches from the sidewall… If an adjustable-height shower head mounted on a vertical bar is used, the bar should not obstruct the use of the grab bars.”