The latest offerings in shower valve technology reflect the growing interest in water conservation.
According to Danze Vice President of Marketing Ed Detgen, “Wholesalers are looking to give their customers several contradicting things: A luxury shower experience, while conserving water.” To help find a balance, Danze has recently introduced several showerheads that incorporate new technology, such as a compensating flow restrictor, which keeps flow at standards but ensures a maximum flow at any water pressure.
Other manufacturers are also addressing green concerns. The spray formers on Moen’s Water Saving showerhead concentrate the water flow, reducing the amount of water used vs. standard showerheads, while still providing a satisfying shower. American Standard’s FloWise showerheads are constructed with a small turbine-like mechanism that spins the water stream through the head to create a powerful, energizing spray. The result is said to feel much the same as standard 2.5 gpm showerheads, although FloWise uses only 1.5 gpm, or 40% less water than current code requirements.
Alsons offers showerheads with Fluidics spray technology that controls the shape and velocity of the water for a full-body spray that uses 36% less water. The water-saving flow of 1.6 gpm delivers water at a higher velocity and maintains uniform temperatures, so there is no loss of coverage or comfort, the company says.
According to Hansgrohe, air-infused water makes all the difference when it comes to shower performance, plus it can help to save water by enhancing volume. ThermoBalance technology in its shower valves senses the temperature of hot and cold water flow at the mixing point. A quick-acting parfin thermo element compensates for variances in temperature, instantly opening and closing hot and cold ports to provide temperature adjustments without dropping water pressure.
But showerheads and systems still need to appeal to consumers with style and that luxury spa feel. Detgen from Danze says that showers should have stylish designs and finish options to match the décor. “The shower trend aligns with the need to create a relaxing retreat. It has evolved into a place to go to escape,” he says.
“We are now seeing an increased interest in more elaborate showering systems,” says Mike Reffner, senior product manager at Moen. “People are looking at the master bath as an opportunity to create their own at-home spa escape. Homeowners want a shower they can enjoy on a daily basis, rather than a soaking tub or a roman tub that they may only have the opportunity to use once a week.”
Kohler Co.’s DTV II shower system is a good example. It uses digital technology to offer customized hydrotherapy. The latest edition adds music, ambient lighting, chromatherapy and steam for a complete sensory experience.