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Sustainability

Exterior lighting in urban jungle

Part 59: 5 creative ways to incorporate solar lighting

730 565 Hamish Kilburn

GTHD

A GUIDE TO HOTEL DESIGN PT 59: 5 WAYS TO INCORPORATE SOLAR LIGHTING

With the race to Net Zero well and truly underway – and with the industry continuing to innovate new ways to design consciously – interior designers, architects and hoteliers are finding new ways to save energy. Here, Zach Edwards explores creative ways we can introduce solar lighting in landscape design… 

Effective outdoor lighting is essential for hotels, especially those that offer space for outdoor activities and outside F&B.

The number-one reason for installing outdoor lighting is safety and security. No operator wants a guest or staff member to trip and take a fall in the shadows. Likewise, no one wants someone to fall victim to crime in a dark corner.

But outdoor lighting comes at a cost. Lighting a large establishment takes a lot of electricity – and money. This is where solar lights come into play. Here are five inexpensive ways to incorporate solar lighting into your exterior design.

1) Along pathways

Lighting in Kings Cross, London

Image credit: Tom Parkes/Unsplash

Dark walkways are a lawsuit waiting to happen. Installing electric lights can involve stringing wires or trenching. Solar lights are more versatile when it comes to placement. They’ll work anywhere they can get a minimal amount of light.

Stick lights will work, but taller post lamps spread more light along the walkway. They’ll also be able to absorb more of the sun’s rays during the daylight hours. Let’s face it: Evening strolls become much more romantic with the gentle ambiance of soft lights. Moonlight adds a little, too, of course.

2) In gardens 

A contemporary glass building with garden solar lighting

Image credit: Zero Take/Unsplash

You’ve worked hard to provide your guests with an elegant and beautiful landscape. Whether you’ve surrounded the grounds with topiaries, colourful blooms, or lots of greenery, the beauty of your landscape scheme can be lost at nightfall. But carefully placed solar lights can subtly highlight both hardscape and softscape elements naturally without harsh intrusion. Consider solar sculpture lights to add a soft glow to your plant life once the sun goes down.

3) In doorways

A creative lighting installation inside a doorway

Image credit: Alberico Bartoccini/Unsplash

Adequate lighting is crucial at entrances. This is where most people stop to find their room key or card that lets them into the building. The chief advantage of solar lights here is money savings. Mounted outdoors, they pull their juice from the sun, not a meter.

4) In entertainment spaces

Even if guests don’t use the pool at night, they like to gather outdoors around it on a cool summer night. Lights inside the pool aren’t enough to illuminate the entire area. Today’s solar lights come in a variety of fixtures ranging from post and table lamps to coachman and Japanese lanterns. They can work well on terraces, patios, and decks and can nestle into the corners and niches where electrical lights (and cords) are cumbersome.

5) In parking areas

Commercial solar post lights have been available for several years and are becoming widely used as streetlights. They can provide security and safety to guests as they come and go.

Another benefit is guest appreciation. Studies show Americans are becoming more eco-friendly and energy conscious. The minute your guests drive up, they’ll see that your establishment is doing its part to be sustainable. A hotel that displays that spirit may encourage more return visits and referrals.

Main image credit: Unsplash

Part 58: Creating a cohesive design language between bedroom & bathroom

730 565 Hamish Kilburn

GTHD

A GUIDE TO HOTEL DESIGN PT 58:
CREATING A COHESIVE DESIGN LANGUAGE BETWEEN BEDROOM & BATHROOM

With wellness and wellbeing creeping up on the agenda in modern hotels, more emphasis is being put on bathroom design to ensure these areas, within the context of the overall hotel experience, become more than practical spaces. When designing the bathroom, designers should consider creating a cohesive design narrative that compliments other areas of the hotel, especially the bedroom. Nick Brown, Leader, Hospitality UK, LIXIL EMENA, who is responsible for overseeing hospitality projects for the GROHE brand in the UK, writes…

In recent years, the bathroom has shifted from a purely functional space designed for hygiene and cleanliness to one that now also embodies wellness and relaxation. Much like the bedroom provides a sanctuary for sleep, rest and recuperation, the bathroom now also has a similar role to play in providing the space for us to take care of not only our personal needs on a physical level but on an emotional level too.

Therefore, as the purpose of the bathroom has shifted towards more of a living space, there has been an increasing synergy between bedroom and bathroom design. The harsh boundaries that once separated individual spaces have now been broken down and we are seeing the merging of bedroom and bathroom coming into one shared space more and more.

Other factors such as urbanisation have played into this shift also. The increasing demand for more housing and living spaces in busy urban areas has created the need for micro-living environments that use clever innovations and solutions to optimise on available space. This trend is not only being seen in the residential market but in hotels too, particularly those in busy city centres where space is also at a premium.

Similarly, space is often at a premium for hotels in urban areas and particularly those in busy city centres. Designers and suppliers are recognising this need for a more cohesive language between bedroom and bathroom and not only adapting the layout of these spaces but also reconsidering product designs, shapes and colour finishes too. Meanwhile, designers also face the challenge of creating a layer of privacy and the option for the guest to shut off and create a divide if they wish to and typically look to more streamlined, discreet or integrated solutions to provide the best of both worlds.

As designers begin to open up these spaces and physically bring the bathtub or basin into the bedroom, manufacturers are also re-imagining product forms and providing design options that align with the softer aesthetics of a bedroom.

For example, ceramics in soft curves and organic forms are usually far more suited to a cohesive bedroom/bathroom space than harsh geometric shapes or patterns. The sight lines in a bedroom should be soft on the eye, favouring more minimalist design in order to instil a sense of quiet and calmness that can help guests unwind and drift off.

GROHE bathroom lifestyle shot featuring Grandera shower, tap and bath filler

Image credit: GROHE

Bathroom design has shifted away from being merely functional, sterile and clinical to embrace colour and personalisation, allowing for a greater sense of character and an enhanced home-from-home appeal. With the need for design language between bedroom and bathroom to be more in sync than ever before, the psychology of colour will play an increasing important role in how designers bring hotel spaces to life. Rich metallic finishes bring warmth into a space and create cohesion across bedroom and bathroom touchpoints, from light switches and furniture to brassware and accessories. Alternatively, muted metal finishes like nickel can offer a more understated look that creates harmony within the two zones whilst still being sophisticated and minimalist.

Designers can also play with contrasting or complementing textures to create both similarity and difference within the space simultaneously.

> Since you’re here, why not read our roundtable on stylish sustainability in wellness?

GROHE 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.

Main image credit: GROHE

Guestroom inside Burgh Island Hotel

Part 57: Refurbishing hotels with authenticity

730 565 Hamish Kilburn

GTHD

A GUIDE TO HOTEL DESIGN PT 57:
REFURBISHING HOTELS WITH AUTHENTICITY

In the next article within the editorial series, Editor Hamish Kilburn and Giles Fuchs, Owner of Burgh Island Hotel, explain how designers and hoteliers can revamp their look and feel while also being sensitive to their building’s history and heritage…

For many hotels, their individuality and charm is rooted in deep historical connections. In the wake of the pandemic, the vintage ambience and sense of escapism this creates has perhaps never been more important for guests’ experience.

As a result, there is a risk that, when these classic and unique hotels need to undergo refurbishment, it creates a clash between the desire to preserve history and need to cater for 21st century guests. However, the two are not mutually exclusive. The recent revamp of bedrooms in Devon’s iconic Burgh Island Hotel, following the renovation of the hotel’s public areas, perfectly demonstrates how refurbishments don’t have to mean compromising their unique character or impressive history. In fact, the co-existence of old and new might just be the perfect combination for today’s guests.

Burgh Island Hotel

Image credit: Burgh Island Hotel

Consult the experts

Maintaining a rich history throughout a revamp can be challenging- there is a fine line between something appearing simply ‘old’ instead of ‘historic’. To tread this line carefully and ensure that history is not lost, consulting and engaging with experts is essential.

For example, at the Burgh Hotel, experts including Art Historians, Art Deco experts and experienced interior designed have been crucial to ensuring the authenticity of the hotel is preserved during renovation works – whether that’s restoring the iconic domed Crittal skylight in the Palm Court Bar or refreshing the design of the bedrooms. For instance, bold geometrics influenced by Cubism adorn some of the bedrooms, whilst the vibrant colours and lavish materials transport the guests right back to the roaring 20s.

Palm Court at Burgh Island

Image caption/credit: Palm Court at Burgh Island Hotel

Beyond the aesthetic, the names of rooms also pay homage to the hotel’s history, putting its famous past front and centre. Whether it’s Agatha’s Beach House, where Agatha Christie wrote the infamous ‘And Then There Were None’, or The Jessie Matthews Room, named after the designer of the hotel’s corridors in the early 20th century, the hotel’s Art Deco style is unmistakeable.

Understanding your audience

While drawing on expertise is crucial to maintaining authenticity, equally key to a successful refurbishment is understanding your target audience.

For example, keeping the guests’ values in mind throughout any renovation can be key to future-proofing your offering, with latest research by booking.com revealing that more than 50 per cent of global travellers develop feelings of annoyance if their accommodation is not engaging in sustainable practices, something they prioritise in their stay.

Moreover, a staggering 80 per cent believe sustainable travel is vital. So, for historic buildings, refurbishment offers a clear opportunity to adopt more sustainable and environmentally friendly practices, whilst simultaneously appealing to the growing environmental consciousness of modern guests. At Burgh Island, for instance, solar panels have been installed over the hotel’s disused tennis court, repurposing existing space to enhance its renewable energy commitments without compromising on the traditional Art Deco style of the architecture.

Another hotel brand that is pathing the way for other brands to follow when it comes to meaningful sustainability is Inhabit Hotels, which is committed to focus on green initiatives and green policies by monitoring and reducing consumption levels, converting environmental efforts into cost-reduction and revenue generating opportunities whilst promoting the corporate and social responsibilities mandate contained below.

A 1920s design bedroom

Image credit: Burgh Island Hotel

Balancing expectations

Guests who seek to gain a sense of escapism or of ‘stepping back in time’ through their holiday accommodation should not have to compromise by giving up technology and detaching from society. The two can, and should, easily co-exist to create the perfect balance between authenticity and modern luxury. In fact, modern amenities such as contactless check-ins and motion-censored lighting can contribute to a far smoother guest journey and movement through the hotel, without detracting from a historical setting.

While lockdown restrictions have eased, hybrid working culture remains the ‘new normal’. According to FlexJobs’ latest remote working statistics, 97 per cent of workers still desire some form of remote working moving forward. This cultural shift has paved the way for a new form of vacation – the ‘workation’. In September this year holiday giant TUI even launched a range of specialised ‘workation’ packages, kitted out with reliable wi-fi, ample desk space and natural lighting.

Drawing on the history of its location should not preclude hotels from taking part in this trend. Indeed, on Burgh Island, Agatha’s Beach House is now a sophisticated, modern, and connected beach retreat, which would make the perfect location for a working holiday. First built in the 1930s as a writer’s retreat for Agatha Christie herself, the room still maintains a certain historic charm and connection to its history, despite offering the creature comforts of modern luxury.

Elsewhere, Grantley Hall has been in the headlines recently following its personality-packed revamp. Inside the building that dates back to 1680 is a modern hotel. The owners were determined the property would retain the sumptuous extravagance of its past during its conversion to a five-star luxury destination. One of its successful approaches to this brief was to inject character into the carpet design. Damasks were fused with herringbones with subtle, luxurious grounds and bold accent pops. Grand florals were used to bring the flora from the surrounding gardens into the property.

Outside image of Grantley Hall

Image credit: Grantley Hall

Authenticity meets luxury

So, classic, and traditional hotels need not shy away from refurbishment due to fears to losing their unique authenticity. In fact, it is quite the opposite. Through consultation with the right expert and understanding the expectations of your guests, refurbishment is a great opportunity to align with 21st Century standards of modernity and luxury, without compromising on that original charm.

> Since you’re here, why not read our guide on how hotels can meaningfully design for social distancing?

All references are available upon request.

Main image credit: Burgh Island Hotel

Part 44: 6 ways to add nature into interior design

730 565 Hamish Kilburn

GTHD

A GUIDE TO HOTEL DESIGN PT 44:
6 WAYS TO ADD NATURE INTO INTERIOR DESIGN

Getting in touch with nature has moved from the eco-friendly fringes to the mainstream in the hospitality industry. Designer and author Angelina Schmidt shares tips on how designers can seamlessly add natural elements within an interior design scheme… 

The indoor-outdoor trend is about more than adding some greenery into hotel lobbies. It’s rooted in the term “biophilia”, which refers to our desire as humans to connect with nature. “Biophilic design” refers to using these principles in architectural and interior design. Here are some tips on how you can extend these ideas to your room design.

Wood

From floor to ceiling and all the space between, wood is a natural choice when using nature in guestroom design, but should not be limited to the bedroom. Wooden floors in common spaces are durable, easy to clean, and blend well with countless design themes.

Minimalist room with wooden coffee table

Image credit: Pixabay

Make a statement in these areas with a wood ceiling (these are a trending design feature right now). Wooden accent walls add warmth and cosiness that’s hard to duplicate with other materials. Consider smaller touches like wood accent shelves or wood fireplace mantles. Wooden coffee tables, desks, lighting fixtures, and accessories will also bring a touch of nature to any room.

Stone

There are so many ways to incorporate stone into interior design. From flooring to feature walls to decorative accents, stone offers a timeless and natural charm. Surround a fireplace or cover a wall with stone veneer.

Image credit: Pixabay

In rooms with kitchens, perhaps use stacked stone as a backsplash or around a kitchen island. Remodeling the bathrooms? How about a river pebble shower floor or slate tiles for the shower walls? Be sure to properly seal the natural stone in bathrooms and use slip-resistant materials for the floors.

The power of plants

Biophilic design is about more than plants. Greenery can play a role in helping travellers feel connected to nature. Potted plants help green up common spaces and individual rooms. Aloe, jade, and snake plants are good low maintenance choices.

Whit room with white bed and plants

Image credit: Pixabay

For an upscale touch, consider luxe plants such as a bird of paradise or bonsai tree. Add pops of colour with strategically placed floral arrangements. Dried flowers last longer than fresh ones, and they’re the epitome of low maintenance. Faux flowers and greenery have come a long way, and they don’t need any care.

Natural light

The more the better! Natural light feeds our minds, bodies, and souls and can promote a sense of wellbeing. Take advantage of natural light in as many rooms as possible. If you’re redesigning a property or building a new one, incorporate windows to let in the light and maximise the view.

Glass windows in coffee shop

Image credit: Pixabay

Choose lighter colour palettes to reflect light rather than absorb it. Remove heavy window coverings and keep windows clean. Clean windows allow in more light and improve the appearance of your space.

Breathe life into your walls 

Living or green walls are having a moment in interior design. They’re popular in office buildings, shopping centres, and hotel lobbies.

Living wall

Image credit: PxFuel

Living walls need regular care and an adequate watering system. Make sure you’ve planned for this because dead or dying plants are an eyesore.

Accessories, with Nature in Mind

Hang pictures of natural settings or landscapes, or display art made from natural items like stones, wood, or shells. Wallpaper or carpet with nature-inspired patterns is another option. So is bedding or accent pillows with floral or leaf designs.

Modern interior scheme with cow-like rug and stone objects on the wall

Image credit: Pixabay

Your guests’ connection to the outdoors doesn’t have to end at your property’s entrance. Use these biophilic tips to help incorporate nature into your room design. While these ideas won’t replace going outside, they can provide your guests with an environment that helps them feel connected to nature.

Main image credit: Pixabay

Part 43: Installing EV charging points in your hotel

730 565 Hamish Kilburn

GTHD

A GUIDE TO HOTEL DESIGN PT 43:
INSTALLING EV CHARGING POINTS IN YOUR HOTEL

As businesses are changing, and demand for electric cars on the rise, hotels are installing EV charging points into car parks. Utility Team explains what hoteliers should consider when modernising to cater for the eco demand…

It is clear that the future of automotive is electric and if you’re not already, maybe you should be considering installing EV charging points at your business premises.

The number of all electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles is forecast to increase exponentially over the coming years, this is something even the most ardent fan of the combustion engine and petrol head would find difficult to dispute. With this, the need for EV charging points will similarly need to grow with some degree of correlation.

The Government has declared a ban on the sale of petrol and diesel cars to begin in 2035, this is to work towards the overall net-zero target put on the UK of 2050. The BBC clarify the point “When will petrol and diesel cars be banned? The ban is being introduced in 2035 – five years earlier than previously planned. Experts said the original target of 2040 would be too late if the UK wanted to achieve its target of emitting virtually zero carbon by 2050. The ban is also being expanded to hybrid cars and plug-in hybrids, which had not been included under the original proposals. As a result, people will be able to buy only electric or hydrogen cars and vans.”

This may lead many occupiers of business premises to consider installing EV charging points. There are of course many different options and providers. Should you opt for rapid charging points? How will these be supplied? Do you have enough capacity? These are just a few of the questions you will likely ponder.

In order to make an informed decision, it is important to understand what you are trying to achieve; this will very much depend upon the type of premises you occupy and what type of business you operate.

For example, the owner/operator of a retail park/shopping centre will want to attract visitors but will also want them to remain on-site for a while. So a rapid charging point where the user may sit in their car for 15 minutes and then drive off may not be the best option. Similarly, a slow charging point that would mean a space is occupied for hours by the same vehicle would not be suitable.

Occupiers of office buildings may want to provide charging points for staff and visitors, again which type of devices are best? How do you decide who can use them? How do you determine if there is any ‘benefit in kind’ that needs to be considered? How do you stop disruption to work with people moving vehicles around the car park to allow others to use the devices?

These again are all questions that should be considered before any installation takes place.

Currently, demand for charging points in comparison to the traditional petrol station is low, you will rarely see a queue at locations that are available to the public, however, this will change. The Guardian highlighted an interesting point ‘Electric vehicle (EV) sales are accelerating rapidly, with the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) figures for September 2019 showing a 236.4% rise year-on-year.’  Whether you are considering installing these devices to attract customers or to benefit employees there are many factors to consider in order to avoid the project becoming a token gesture or something that causes more problems than it solves.

Taking independent advice is key to ensure your installation caters for your current and future demand scenarios as well as providing a system that manages the use of the devices throughout your organisation.

Utility Team can advise on a variety of green energy initiatives, managing the project from start to finish (if required) as well as providing interest-free funding opportunities for energy-efficient equipment or initiatives. In particular, we can help you with any EV charging point project from trickle to rapid chargers and self-owned to leased charging points.

Main image credit: Utility Team

Part 39: Sustainability in hotels – are you doing your part?

1024 683 Hamish Kilburn

GTHD

A GUIDE TO HOTEL DESIGN PT 39:
Sustainability in hotels – are you doing your part?

Sustainable tourism is not just a rising travel trend. Sustainability also quickly becoming a priority – if not a moral imperative – for hospitality leaders and hotel businesses around the world. Hotel Bookings resource STAAH explains…

Guide to Hotel Design
Image credit Inhabit Hotels

Over the past several decades, hoteliers have turned their focus to the importance of sustainability in the hospitality industry as it relates to hotel development and operations, including the environmental, economic and social impact.

Sustainability is one of the most important issues currently facing our world. Here are some ways that you can put your best green foot forward and get amongst the initiatives used by other hotels around the world:

Cutting down on food waste.
For example, by growing food onsite, sourcing food locally, and shifting social norms to ensure that “plate waste” is no longer considered acceptable.

Eliminating plastic.
A step beyond recycling, doing away with single-use plastic products can help limit the huge amount of waste stemming from creating and discarding these items. Getting rid of plastic water bottles and plastic bags is a good place to start.

Creating a paperless hotel.
A task made easy by a modern property management system, which will simplify operations and streamline the guest experience while reducing carbon emissions.

Minimising water usage beyond the hotel room.
In addition to encouraging guests to be mindful of their water and towel usage, some properties are turning to innovations such as showers that filter their own water.

Integrating sustainability into the hotel architecture.
In building new properties, there is a “three-zero-concept” approach: using local construction materials and skills (zero kilometers), prioritizing energy management and lower emissions (zero carbon dioxide), and introducing life-cycle management into the building process (zero waste).
These are just a few steps that your property can take to minimise its environmental impact. Many hospitality businesses have made a useful commitment to sustainability by making simple changes to their usual practice.

For example, in the accommodation sector, some properties have had success with encouraging guests to reuse towels and to request a change of linen, rather than making it a daily norm. This small gesture can save a hotel a great deal in costs, while also reducing the hotel’s impact on the environment.

The key to making these changes successfully is educating guests and customers on why you are asking them to make these changes with you.

STAAH is one of our recommended suppliers. To keep up to date with their news, click here. And, if you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, please email Katy Phillips by clicking here.

Tap with water

Part 37: Putting sustainability front and centre in the bathroom

730 565 Hamish Kilburn

GTHD

PART 37: PUTTING SUSTAINABILITY FRONT AND CENTRE IN THE BATHROOM

Recommended Supplier Roca discusses sustainability in order to highlight how the international hotel design industry can save water and reduce wastage… 

Water consumption varies in hotels depending on the presence of swimming pools, saunas, laundry and catering facilities. However, water accounts for 10 per cent of utility bills in many hotels, with taps, toilets and showers comprising around 40 per cent of this total.

Any way we can reduce water consumption is going to be good for the hotel and good for the environment.

Bathroom manufacturing has become more sustainable in recent years and Roca has remained at the forefront of sustainable design by creating products that conserve water and protect the environment. For example, the bathroom manufacturer has reduced the capacity of its WC cisterns to optimise water consumption and developed plumbing products that shrink energy usage.

Guests are also being far more aware of the need to reduce water and energy consumption. In-roads have already been made in this regard, with a growing number of bathrooms now having a dual-flush cistern.

The objective is to stop unnecessary waste of water, without negatively impacting the perception of the user.

The right choice of products plays an important part in the management of water usage. And we deliberately say ‘management’ of water usage, because, although the overall aim is to reduce water usage, each of the products still has to work effectively. The objective is to stop unnecessary waste of water, without negatively impacting the perception of the user.

Water saving developments

Firstly, let’s look at some products that have been designed to reduce water-usage.

One of the latest innovations to hit the market are rimless toilets. The box rim has been eliminated, making the pan much easier to clean and eliminating areas in which bacteria can accumulate. The shape of the pan has also been redesigned, allowing us to flush very efficiently with as little as a 4/2L dual flush cistern. Considering that the average flush for new WCs is between 4L and 6L, a product like this can help to save considerable amounts of water.

Water saving technology can also be found in many brassware solutions. For example, Cold Start technology ensures water is only heated when it is required. Traditionally, when you turn on a tap, the water will be warm. This will automatically trigger the boiler, which can be expensive and wasteful, especially in a home where multigenerational families use water at different times.

Roca also has an exclusive piece of technology in its ECO disc cartridge, which helps to save water and energy. As the tap handle is raised, a slight resistance is reached at 50 per cent of the water flow and lifting beyond this bite point produces a full flow. The cartridge includes a temperature limiter which can be set at installation to eliminate the risk of scalding.

Innovation and product development are making significant headway in delivering greater water savings. For instance, the ground-breaking W+W from Roca uses waste water from the basin to fill the WC cistern, thereby reducing water usage by up to 25 per cent compared to a standard 6/3 litre dual-flush WC. The W+W basin has two wastes – the basin waste and one further down the waste pipe. The user has the option of either diverting it to the mains or recycling it by storing it in the cistern ready for the next flush.

Our Responsibility

As well as delivering bathroom solutions that save water and reduce wastage, Roca actively works to improve sanitation and increase access to water across the world. 

Created in 2010, the We Are Water Foundation is a Roca initiative which reinforces the brand’s historic engagement with society. On a planet with about 768 million people without access to drinking water and 2.7 billion without basic sanitation infrastructure, the Foundation aims to achieve two main objectives. First, to contribute to the spread of a new culture of water which is more caring, just and sustainable, and second, to help the world’s poorest and those with major water and sanitation problems.

The vision of the We Are Water Foundation is to continue growing worldwide, especially in countries where the Roca Group can, through its activities, participate more intensively to identify collaboration projects and contribute to the solution for water and sanitation problems.

Sustainable manufacturing

Roca also knows that how its products are produced is important so has created the Eco-Roca project, which looks at the production processes at its factory, as well as the development of its products and the social activities of the company. The project has two core goals, to cut CO2 emissions and to manage waste-free industrial processes via its Zero Waste Programme.

We have a greater understanding of the value of water and its wastage than ever before. Hoteliers and guests are mindful about the amount of water they are using and want ways to reduce it. It’s time to think seriously about water conservation.

Main image credit: Roca