Eco shower heads slow to hit shops but a hit on building sites

PUBLISHED : Monday, 05 April, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 05 April, 2010, 12:00am

Water-saving shower heads labelled under a voluntary water efficiency labelling scheme have been slow to reach shops, but are popular in construction projects.

Since December, the Water Supplies Department has approved 19 shower head models from seven manufacturers. The scheme has four grades, depending on the flow rate.

Grade 1 is the most efficient, with a flow of less than nine litres per minute. Grade 4 is the least efficient, with more than 16 litres per minute. So far, there are 16 grade 1 models and three grade 2 models. Department chief engineer Vincent Mak Shing-cheung said water saving also depended on shower time.

The average price for water-saving shower heads is a few hundred dollars.

Using a grade 1 instead of grade 4 head for 10 minutes a day would save 2,100 litres of water a month, which translates to a saving of up to HK$76 at the highest tier of tariff in a four-month period. Mak said that responses from the industry were positive. 'However, because it is still new, there are still many details they are concerned with,' he said.

Marketing manager of E & I International, Eldon Yung, said that his company's sales of a newly designed model approved in December had been strong, with many orders coming from construction projects.

Three new water-saving models by another manufacturer, Jing Mei Industrial Holdings, have not yet reached the retail market. Marketing executive Ryan Lai said: 'The models were specifically designed after the department rolled out the scheme and have only been sold in trade shows.'

Among a cluster of shops selling sanitary ware in Lockhart Road, most are not yet selling the labelled models. Several salespeople said that they had yet to receive the labels for existing models already approved under the scheme. One grade 2 model that is on sale was already popular before the scheme was launched, said Thomas Yeung, salesman at American Standard's showroom. He said labelling had not affected sales of the three-year-old model that costs HK$935 - the most expensive in the range of 10 shower heads that starts at HK$400.

'The model accounts for 30 per cent of sales out of the 10,' Yeung said.

The department began the scheme in September. Mak said it took time to test models for approval.

Water wisdom

Switching to a grade 1 shower head from a grade 4 could save you this many litres of water a month: 2,100