15 October 2010

Water, water, everywhere...

One of the more memorable water factoids that crossed my monitor in the last week is that more people in the world have access to a mobile phone than to a flushing toilet.

Saving water is the theme of this year's Blog Action Day when bloggers throughout the world join in a mass-post of blogs about water shortage.

Access to water - or rather the lack of access to an essential everyday commodity we in the west take for granted - has been uppermost in my mind these last few days in the run-up to today's Global Handwashing Day.

Handwashing with soap is the most effective and inexpensive way to prevent diarrhoeal and acute respiratory infections, which take the lives of millions of children in developing countries every year. Together, they are responsible for the majority of all child deaths.

Those of us lucky to live in countries where water is available quite literally on tap should be doing all we can to raise awareness of how important it is for us to use water wisely so that there is enough to go around for everyone. Unlike electricity, we cannot produce extra water to make up a world shortfall.

Saving water is one of the regular environmental issues that are discussed and normally I  hang my head in shame at how little my fellow UK citizens seem to care about adopting a 'greener' lifestyle. Apparently we in Britain are bottom of the list in Europe for prioritising environmentally friendlier features when it comes to buying new kitchen and bathroom appliances.

However, what I am proud of is how some of the companies I frequently write about as an interiors journalist are doing all they can to produce products that have less impact on the world's resources.

The Whirlpool Corporation is the world's largest manufacturer of domestic appliances and it has just released a whole family of products in Europe that are environmentally friendlier than the products they replace.

One that caught my attention was the Whirlpool ADP 7955 WH dishwasher pictured above. A dishwasher may strike some people as a luxury because many consumers still don’t recognise how efficient a dishwasher can be, particularly when it comes to water consumption.

A study published by the University of Bonn in 2003 measured the amount of water used when washing dishes by hand. In the UK this figure came out at 63 litres (to wash 12 place settings).

The average UK dishwasher uses just 15 litres to do the same amount. The Green Generation Dishwasher from Whirlpool uses just 11 litres for a full cycle, however, with the use of Whirlpool's patented 6th Sense appliance management technology, this could be as low as 7 litres - a staggering 56 litre saving vs. hand washing and even an 8 litre saving vs. the UK average dishwasher!

I cannot think of many appliances that provide so many winning solutions. The user enjoys the benefits of having their dishes cleaned much more efficiently than they can possibly do by hand, if their water supply is on a water meter, the reduced water consumption will help to offset the cost of the dishwasher, and the water saved can be put to better use.

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