Climate change means we need to alter our relationship with water: The UN estimates that the global demand for water will increase by 55 percent by 2050, while the reserves of available water will decline. Greater awareness of this vital resource for everyday body care, showering, bathing, and flushing the toilet can significantly reduce both consumption and costs.
Everyday water-saving tips
Do not leave the water running when washing your hands, cleaning your teeth or shaving is a particularly effective way of reducing daily water usage. Taking shorter showers reduces consumption by approx. 12 litres per minute with conventional attachments. Repairing dripping or leaking faucets and attachments promptly or even to replace them with new, water-saving variants.
Faucets and showerheads to save water and energy
Innovative and water-saving solutions are the logical choice – whether you’re planning a new bathroom or refurbishing an old one. They contribute to sustainable water use in the bathroom without reducing comfort. Washbasin faucets with AirPlus technology enrich the water with air for a full, gentle stream while reducing both water and energy costs.
The MinusFlow technology decreases the water consumption of washbasin faucets and hand showers by up to 40 per cent, and up to 60 per cent for showerheads.
Using less water in general leads to lower energy consumption as large amounts of water are often heated before use. The single-lever mixers in the energy-saving FreshStart variant mean that coldwater flows when the lever is in the middle position, hot water is only introduced when the user deliberately moves the handle to the left. The energy-intensive production of hot water is then limited to situations where it is needed.
Image caption: With the single-lever mixers in the energy-saving FreshStart variant, only cold-water flows in the middle position. The water is only heated when the lever is actively turned to the left. | Image credit: Duravit AG
Water-saving toilet technologies
Rimless toilets with a reduced flush volume of 4.5 litres are easy to clean using small amounts of water. This is in part due to the innovative, easy-clean surfaces such as the WonderGliss coating or the HygieneGlaze antibacterial ceramic glaze amplify this effect. The smaller button on the actuator plates with two-volume flushing technology offers a flushing option of just three litres. The larger water quantity should only be chosen when it is really needed.
Duravit is one of our Recommended Suppliers and regularly features in our Supplier News section of the website. If you are interested in becoming one of our Recommended Suppliers, please email Katy Phillips.
Part 81: 6 pitfalls to avoid when specifying stone
In part two of Hotel Designs’ exclusive editorial series with Stone Federation, we share some of the common mishaps designers and architects encounter when specifying stone…
Natural stone is a truly versatile material with a rich history of being used to create memorable, durable and sustainable hotels, both inside and out. It is a material that delivers uniqueness by the bucket load as no two pieces of stone are ever exactly the same, thus enabling hotel designers to create truly one-of-a-kind spaces.
As with any material, the necessary know-how around selection, design and maintenance is key to delivering a successful project. One of the advantages of using natural stone is that it is a material that has been used in hotels for centuries and is supported by a vast wealth of technical research as well as British & European Standards.
The following pointers are designed to be steps on the journey to you delivering a beautiful, durable and sustainable natural stone project.
1) Specifying the wrong type of stone
There is a commonly used adage in the natural stone industry that there is no such thing as a bad stone, just a badly used one, and this holds true project after project. Natural stone is, as the name suggests, a natural material and, just like any other natural product, it will react and respond better in certain situations and less well in others. For example, some stones will work perfectly well as wall linings in lobbies or other dry areas, but would prove to be unsuitable if used in wet areas like shower enclosures.
Engaging with a stone consultant early in the project, pulling on their material expertise, and matching your design vision with the right materials for that application, will help ensure that you specify the correct stone for that specific project.
Image credit: Four Seasons Hotel London at Ten Trinity Square
2) Forgetting it’s a natural product
This might seem obvious, but with the ever-increasing number of man-made, stone-effect products being pushed into the market, it could be easy to forget that natural stone is just that, a naturally occurring material that has not been ground up, mixed with resins and other ingredients and coloured with dyes.
The unique and natural veining, tones and textures found in stone are what make it such a special material. No two blocks of stone will ever be exactly alike, and embracing this as opposed to specifying out any variation or difference in tone and vein pattern is the best way to work with, and not against the natural dynamic of stone. It is vitally important that the stone is viewed under appropriate lighting conditions that imitate the in-service conditions, and that a full range of the stone’s visual characteristics are captured in a range report used as part of the stone supply contract.
Make every specification decision about natural stone through the lens of its natural characteristics, embrace its uniqueness and you will end up with a project that takes full advantage of the organic nature of the material.
3) Trying to move away from movement joints
Like all building materials, natural stone will be impacted by changes in environmental conditions (heat, impact and traffic), which is why it’s important to provide stress-relieving movement joints.
When designing a natural stone floor, there a several questions that will help deliver a durable scheme and avoid failures in the floor.
The first step is to ascertain whether you need a movement joint. Simply put, where the distance between restraining surfaces including perimeter walls exceeds two metres, a perimeter movement joint must be installed. Intermediate movement joints are required where the distance exceeds 10 metres. With underfloor heating, the natural stone flooring should be divided into bays of up to 40 metres squared, with a maximum bay length of eight metres.
It’s also important to consider whether the floor will be subject to light or heavy loading, and whether there’ll be underfloor heating. If the floor will be exposed to low loading, or in a low traffic and impact area, a sealant would provide a suitable movement joint. If the floor is in a higher traffic environment a pre-formed movement joint, typically comprising metal side plates with a flexible synthetic rubber core may be more suitable. If there is an underfloor heating system, the pipes or cables should be located to ensure that the system is contained within the pattern of the movement joints.
Hotel interior designers should also take drying shrinkage into account because stone, like all finishing materials, reflects movements arising from supporting substrates. In the early period of a floor’s life cycle, movement occurs primarily from the drying shrinkage of the slab and screed. As a rule of thumb, a typical 10 metre span slab will experience drying shrinkage of three millimetres irrespective of design, depth or amount of reinforcement used.
Image credit: Stone Federation
4) Forgetting that slip resistance can affect material appearance
When discussing slip resistance within hotel design, it’s important to have a basic understanding of a few of the fundamental points relating to the equipment used to establish slip resistance and the means of assessment of results generated.
Most of the guidance and specified in-service performance criteria will quote values in Slip Resistance Value (SRV) or Pendulum Test Value (PTV) – these are the same.
A material’s slip resistance is determined by several factors. The choice of stone, choice of finish and choice of sealant or impregnator will all have an effect on the slip resistance properties of the finished floor.
When deciding on which material to specify it’s important to understand how the material’s appearance might change when the texture that enables that material to achieve the required slip resistance rating is applied. For example, a polished marble will look very different to a honed marble, as the polish will reflect light whereas a honed finish will absorb it, making the colours of the stone appear more muted. Considering these factors early in the project will help avoid challenges further down the line.
“This comes back to the point about there being no such thing as a bad stone, just a badly used one.”
5) Aftercare treated as an afterthought
Natural stone, like any other material, requires maintenance to keep it looking and performing at its best. Understanding the geology of the material specified, its porosity and absorption is important as different stone types will require differing levels of care and maintenance. It’s also worth noting that heavily trafficked areas will require more maintenance than those that are seldom used.
One of the most common pitfalls made in the maintenance of natural stone is the use of incorrect products that damage the material. The use of acidic products should be avoided as they can remove any surface sealant or in extreme cases damage stone. It is best to use carefully considered ‘proprietary’ stone cleaning products that will typically be of neutral pH or mildly alkaline.
Working with your stone supplier to develop an ongoing maintenance plan before project completion will help manage client expectations from the outset.
Image credit: Adare Manor
6) Unexpected interactions
Considering the environment in which the stone will be used is key to avoiding one of the most common pitfalls in the use of stone in hotels: staining or marking caused by products like wine, make-up or other acidic substances or staining caused by a repeatedly wetted stone without the required drainage. This comes back to the point about there being no such thing as a bad stone, just a badly used one.
Taking into account the substances that the stone will interact with will help you specify the right stone for that environment.
Natural stone is a truly unique material providing hotel designers with a whole host of unique tones and textures and the ability to deliver sustainable, long-lasting projects. By considering the points raised above, you can help avoid some of the most common pitfalls. Stone Federation also always recommends working with a stone consultant as early in the project as possible, and make sure that you choose a Stone Federation company at each stage of the process to ensure that you are working with the best companies and materials.
Part 80: avoiding the perils of greenwashing in hotel design
Marking Hotel Designs’ 80th article in its Guide To Hotel Design series, Mark Tremlett, Founder of Naturalmat, a company which has recently achieved B-corp status, delves into how the industry can work harder to avoid greenwashing…
When we started the company Naturalmat more than 20 years ago, the word sustainability was not really used within the industry. People cared about how many pocket springs their mattresses had or the thread count of their sheets, but no one was talking about the importance of using natural, organic fibres, or the type of raw materials being used.
We spend around a third of our life in bed, either sleeping or at least trying to, and we are increasingly realising that sleep is essential to our existence. It has now joined exercise and nutrition as the third pillar of health and wellness. It powers the mind, restores the body and fortifies virtually every system we have. While the National Sleep Foundation recommends an average of seven to nine hours of sleep for adults, per night, only recently are we considering the relationship between what we sleep on and the impact it can have on our health and wellbeing.
Image credit: Naturalmat
Sadly, what we are seeing is that as people become increasingly eco-conscious and concerned about the environment, businesses are jumping on this with marketing campaigns littered with empty claims and buzzwords. In reality, they’re actually doing very little to adopt a greener approach or make a positive and impactful change. Unnecessary virtue signalling and greenwashing fill our TVs, newspapers, magazines, social media and the internet; but the real question is how can we change this and what is actually being done to make a change for good?
The good news is there are companies genuinely tackling big problems and, ‘doing sustainability right‘. They are approaching the market from all sides and thinking about the negative impact of current industry challenges while working hard to create positive impact. We count ourselves in this cohort, which was recognised earlier this year when we because the first bed and mattress bed company in the UK to achieve B Corp status – an organisation committed to the companies that use business as a force for good by caring about their employees, the environment and their impact on the planet. It is Naturalmat’s long-standing commitment to transparency, trust and consideration when it comes to sustainable production that earned us this global recognition.
Image credit: Naturalmat
Image caption: Naturalmat founders Mark Tremlett (l) and Peter Tindall (r). | Image credit: Naturalmat
For companies to avoid the perils of greenwashing, it is imperative that, at their very core, they uphold the values that we associate with conscious business. For instance, we talk about circular economy – but how is this monitored? At Naturalmat, we discovered the heartbreaking statistic that, on average, the UK throws 5,000,000 mattresses a year straight into landfill. We’ve addressed this by launching our Mattress for Life Initiative™, which allows our customers to refurbish, recycle or donate their mattress to charity when the time comes to replace it. This is our way of ensuring that absolutely zero Naturalmat mattresses end up in landfill.
Another waste-reducing initiative is our partnership with The Haines Collection, which reuses surplus fabrics from the textile industry. As a result, we have contributed to the overall figure of 22,058m of fabric which they have saved from landfill to date.
Image credit: Naturalmat
Within our workshop, we have dedicated waste streams for each of our raw materials and we also repurpose our organic wool offcuts, saving 1,200 KG of wool from going to waste in the last year. It’s these initiatives that are putting us on track to create a closed manufacturing loop, with zero waste, by 2025. Our Devon-based workshop has been powered by solar panels for over a decade and our carbon reduction roadmap means we are committed to achieving absolute zero Scope 1 and 2 emissions (without the use of offsets) by 2025, and net zero Scope 3 by 2030.
Another area where we see companies embellishing sustainability claims, especially in the interiors industry, is the use of natural fibres. Shipping tonnes of wool from far flung parts of the world does not make you green and certainly not eco-conscious. Here in the UK, there are over 30 million sheep that graze our fields and provide over 150,000 jobs. At Naturalmat, we’ve always taken the time to work with local suppliers and support the local economy. We work hard to source certified, renewable materials, including organic wool directly from local farmers based within a 70-mile radius of our Topsham workshop, as well as natural latex, recycled denim and organic coir. All these raw ingredients hold third-party verified sustainability certifications, which we investigate and which we trust.
At Naturalmat, we are passionate about farming and know that agriculture claims 50 per cent of all habitable land and is responsible for just under 25 per cent of all human-created carbon emissions. This means it plays a key role in helping us create a safe and healthy future, one where we can sustain our global community by working with nature, not against it. By supporting regenerative farming methods for the production of our natural fibres, we are going beyond ‘organic’. Regenerative farming gives back to the natural systems that traditional farming has destroyed over time, mutually benefitting the plants, animals, farmers and all of us.
Image credit: Naturalmat
Our mission at Naturalmat is to make healthy and sustainable sleep accessible to all so we have partnered with a number of impactful organisations, including the Lullaby Trust, FRC, and Cotton Lives On to provide a better night’s sleep to those in need. By 2025, we aim to allocate five per cent of our production to tackling bed poverty.
As businesses, we have the power to create positive, impactful change. Instead of getting caught up in the corporate jargon, we have the option to choose sustainable suppliers or manufacturers and build a brand that connects with customers on a subject that truly matters. According to a 2021 study by Simon-Kucher & Partners, the market is at a real tipping point, with increasing interest in who is really on the green side of the eco-conversation. Brand messaging and hollow advertising simply is not going to cut it.
Exceeding the expectations of the consumer, having sustainability at the core of a business’s ethos and being led by passionate founders that are building their businesses around a mission for good is what takes companies higher, resulting in recognition and, ultimately, success.
Naturalmat is one of our Recommended Suppliers and regularly features in our Supplier News section of the website. If you are interested in becoming one of our Recommended Suppliers, please email Katy Phillips.
Part 78: how the WFHotel trend has evolved since 2020 in furniture
Following the pandemic in 2020, the demand for WFHotel spaces in hotel design has soared. But are co-working spaces, in hotels at least, here to stay? The team at Ligne Roset Contract explore…
As hotels continue to offer more than just a place to sleep, the move to providing a more work focussed environment demonstrates the resilience and innovative nature of the hospitality sector.
The ability to work on the move or as an overnight guest is vital in the world of today and hotels are perfectly placed to cater for this ever-increasing demand for comfortable and engaging working environments.
Image credit: Ligne Roset Contract
Ligne Roset Contract have provided furniture for hotels across the world since 1950 and a key focus has often been the workspace within a hotel lobby or bedroom.
Our range of desks, cabinetry, seating and lighting can suit a number of design styes and budgets, and our bespoke manufacturing widens our reach even further. Our factories are aligned for ‘sur-measure’ (custom-made) furniture with more than 160 years of manufacturing know-how behind us.
Our bespoke manufactured Novotel bedroom designed by RF Studio. The top is made from natural oak and the base from cork, in-keeping with the sustainable credentials behind this bedroom concept.
Image credit: Novotel / Ligne Roset Contract
Interior designers continue to look for ways to incorporate solo and group working spaces within the guestrooms, private and communal areas of their hotel designs.
For an impromptu meeting we have our bespoke manufactured banquette seating and Soufllot chair, designed by Jean Philipe Nuel for the lobby of the beautiful Hotel Dieu in Lyon.
Image credit: Hotel Dieu / Ligne Roset Contract
If you feel the need to block out the sights and sounds around you we have our Rewrite desk, a little jewel of modernity and softness designed by Italian and Danish design duo GamFratesi.
For that quick email that needs sending, nothing suits better than our Nubo desk, also designed by GamFratesi and a winner of an Interior Innovation award, perfect for when space is tight.
Few designers can match the impact on furniture design as Pierre Paulin. His Curule chair and Tanis desk offer the perfect place from which to sit and work in style and comfort. Seen here in New Hotel Le Quai in Marseille.
Image credit: YanAudic / Ligne Roset Contract
Continually prevalent in the Ligne Roset collection is French designer Philippe Nigro. His Hemicycle chair and Marechiaro shelving system/room divider offer a tranquil space to sit and read, study and contemplate.
The variety and depth of the Ligne Roset collection as well as the bespoke manufacturing capabilities mean any type of ‘Working From Hotel’ can be achieved and we welcome any conversation so please do get in contact about your hotel project.
Linge Roset Contact is one of our Recommended Suppliers and regularly features in our Supplier News section of the website. If you are interested in becoming one of our Recommended Suppliers, please email Katy Phillips.
Part 76: how to measure sustainability in surface design
As Hotel Designs rolls into its largest feature around sustainability in the publication’s history, we asked Stone Federation to share its insight on sustainable surfaces. In part one of this three-part series, we learn how to measure conscious sourcing when it comes to surface design…
In this ‘material world‘, there is no avoiding it. Sustainability has never been as high on the agenda as it is now – and the delivery of sustainable interior projects is a must.
The hotel sector, perhaps more than others, has an even greater drive to deliver as customers are looking to the items they consume and companies with whom they spend their money to be proving their own sustainability credentials. In an industry where everyone is looking for the factor of difference, their unique selling point, providing customers with truly sustainable spaces isn’t just good for the planet, but can also make a lot of business sense.
Image credit: Stone Federation
It is no longer just enough to use carbon offsetting or sponsoring the planting of trees as a low-commitment route to demonstrating a sustainable approach to business. Companies must prove they understand the concepts of true sustainability and design their hotel in accordance with these.
Before answering any question about sustainability, defining the term is important as there has been an unfortunate amount of greenwashing within the design sector.
From Stone Federation’s viewpoint, when we talk about sustainability, we’re assessing the whole-life cycle of a project, which includes the raw material extraction, production, distribution, use and end of life. From our perspective, the fewer processes required to get from raw material to finished product the better for the environment and the more sustainable the material.
Image caption: Dramatic entrance into the lobby at Adare Manor. | Image credit: Adare Manor
For natural stone, the process is relatively simple: stone is quarried or mined from the ground, cut into slabs or tiles, transported to site and will often last for decades, and in many cases, centuries. Thanks to its durability, there is also the potential for the creative reuse of many stones delivering a truly circular project.
What’s more, the quarries and mines themselves have a fantastic track record of reuse or repurposing. You only need to look at Honister Slate Mine in Cumbria which has been turned into a zip wire experience or the Tout Quarry on the island of Portland which has been restored as a sculpture park and nature reserve to see just how circular and sustainable the natural stone extraction process is.
Image caption: Albion Stone Quarry. | Image credit: Stone Federation
While some ‘stone alternative’ or ‘stone effect’ products require intense heat and pressure to bond the resins, pigments and other ingredients, natural stone comes out of the ground ready to be cut, finished and fixed. While many of these alternative products are marketed as a ‘stone-effect’ option, they cannot emulate the natural beauty or sustainability credentials of natural stone. Natural stone is, by definition, a natural product, formed in the Earth over many millions of years, extracted, cut to size and transported to site without excessive human intervention and invention.
So, in the first instance, measuring sustainability in surface design starts with assessing the number of processes that have gone into the creation of the materials being used.
It’s not just the extraction process that makes natural stone such a sustainable choice for hotel designers, the durability of stone is also part of what gives it such impressive sustainability credentials.
This dynamic of durability is another metric for assessing sustainability in surface design – how long will this material last?
Image credit: Stone Federation
So many of our nation’s historic hotels, churches and public buildings have natural stone floors that are hundreds of years old and still performing well. It is very rare to find the same with some of stone’s competitor materials. Much of this strength is thanks to the millions of years of compressive geological processes that go into the natural formation of stone. For a material that takes millions of years to form, providing a 100-year project lifespan is unsurprisingly commonplace for many stones.
Another way to assess sustainability in surface design is to look at a material’s ability to be reused or recycled should there be renovations or change of use. Natural stone, thanks to its durability, can be reclaimed, reused or even repurposed as furniture or pieces of art.
It’s not just these general principles of assessing extraction processes, material life span and reuse that help in measuring sustainability in surface design, there are also a number of detailed studies that have provided hotel designers with the facts to inform their material choices.
Image credit: Stone Federation
When comparing natural stone with large-format ceramics, terrazzo, and other flooring products, stone’s global warming potential was found to be significantly lower. The GWP figures showed that, for example, large-format ceramic tiles have a 74 per cent higher Global Warming Potential than natural stone and terrazzo are 27 per cent higher.
There are many other examples of studies that have demonstrated the sustainability credentials of natural stone. Moving slightly away from interiors, but still on the topic of sustainability there was also a project in London, 15 Clerkenwell Close, where the use of load-bearing natural stone instead of a concrete and steel structure reduced the whole-life carbon footprint of the building by 95 per cent and the cost by 75 per cent.
Finally, the Green Guide to Specification, which is part of BREEAM, sets out an A+ to E ranking system for the environmental performance of materials. In a case study project by the BRE, almost half of the natural stone-related components achieved either A+ or A and the majority of the remainder scored a C or above.
In summary, measuring sustainability in surface design boils down to first defining what makes a product sustainable and then comparing all materials against those same criteria. A low-impact material extraction or creation process, longevity of the material and ability to reuse, reclaim or recycle are all good first indicators, but when placed alongside the facts of comparative studies, it’s hard to ignore the fact that natural stone might just be the hotel designer’s ideal sustainable material.
> Since you’re here, why not read about Stone Federation’s collaboration with Squire & Partners, Stone Tapestry?
Main image caption: The pool in the spa at Four Seasons Hotel London at Ten Trinity Square, designed by architect Joseph Caspari with Mio Shibuya. | Image credit: Four Seasons
Since the invention of electricity to now, the answer in creating more efficient spaces lies in technology. To understand how designers, architects and hotels can optimise energy and make operations run smoother, Vidar Thomassen, Director, Zennio, discusses how technology is enhancing sustainable hotel initiatives…
The last couple of years has been one of the most difficult periods, if not the hardest, for the hospitality industry worldwide. Lockdowns, staffing issues, war on the European Continent and unprecedented energy costs have all put pressure on the industry.
When looking at reducing operating costs in a hotel, optimisation comes as a very handy word; optimise labour, optimise training, optimise energy, optimise maintenance, but we many times fail to address the way to achieve this ‘optimisation’.
As in life, information is the starting point to approach the problems we aim to solve, so gathering information about what is going on in our building becomes essential to enhance the way the building – our hotel – works. Once we have the information, we need to control those variables to be able to change them, and this is where technology can really make a difference.
Image credit: Zennio / Six Senses Ibiza
Starting with the rooms, sharing information between the hotel PMS (such as if the room is booked for that day or if the guest has already checked-in) and the HVAC control system (room occupancy for example) help reduce energy waste to a minimum as the AC will only turn On when the room is occupied and the guest is checked-in, but not if the hotel staff gets in the room before the guest has arrived to the hotel. This can be applied to all room controls (lighting, TV, sockets…) but also to common areas, and bearing in mind energy accounts for 3 to 6% of an average hotel running costs, eliminating energy waste can really make a difference.
Following on to the hotel staff, housekeeping is many times overlooked with teams left to wonder through the hotel looking for rooms to clean. Monitoring ‘Make Up Room’ and ‘Do Not Disturb’ signals (MUR/DND) in a centralised system help increase the overall efficiency as teams can be assigned to those parts of the hotel that require more immediate attention. Combining this information with room occupancy and access controls enhance guest privacy and provide deeper knowledge of how our hotels work, for example giving information on how much time it takes to clean each room.
Another big cost centre control systems help reduce drastically is Maintenance, as these solutions allow the use of predictive and preventive policies. Sorting issues before they become fatal or even before they appear decreases the amount spent in replacing broken units (for example AC units) but also minimises the risk of refunds to guest because things are not working or because there has been an AC leakage nobody noticed before.
A robust long-lasting control system combined with a Building Management System (BMS) that integrates with our hotel’s PMS is vital to get to know how our building operates to optimise all those little things that end up costing several thousand every year.
These are the type of solutions Zennio develops and delivers in more than 100 countries, helping hotels all around the world become more efficient and sustainable and supporting all projects locally and remotely to make sure everything works every day.
Main image credit: Zennio / Six Senses Ibiza
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