Making sustainable design beautiful

Creating spaces and buildings that are as eco-conscious as they are design-forward is becoming a pressing requirement for the interiors industry. Russell Owens from Zip Water UK explains why the future lies in making sustainable design beautiful.

‘Sustainable design’ aims to reduce or eliminate negative environmental impact through thoughtful design. This means working to create buildings and products that are more energy efficient, reduce waste and use limited resources throughout their lifecycle. Further to this, specifiers and designers can give preference to materials that will contribute to people’s health and wellbeing – another important element of sustainability that is often overlooked.

When choosing sustainable products for a residential or commercial space, those that have energy efficient functionality are an obvious choice. Coupled with this, these products should be of a high quality – durable and functional enough to last the test of time, removing the need for regular replacement.

However, in the past architects have been faced with a problem – reliable, hard-wearing products have tended to lack in the design department, making them less desirable to clients and specifiers alike. That’s why it’s so important that sustainable products are also beautifully designed. That way, these products will become must-have items in their own right. There is little point designing a functional, sustainable product if no one wants to see it every day!

In residential environments – and increasingly in office and commercial areas – clients are looking for ways to reduce their carbon footprint without impairing the design vision for their home or workplace. As much as it is your responsibility to recommend eco-friendly products wherever possible, now is the time for manufacturers to be look beyond sustainable functionality to also produce something stylish – ultimately making life easier for the architect.

Drinking water is one area crying out for sustainable design – understandable when you consider that certain drinking water solutions offer a lot of benefits in terms of health, wellbeing and productivity, but can also be terribly damaging to the environment. For example, workplace environments where huge amounts of bottled water is purchased rather than using mains-fed alternatives.

It is not unrealistic for your clients to expect an instant drinking water supply that is healthy, great tasting and free from dirt or other contaminants. But, due to the chemicals used to treat tap water, a large percentage of the British public dislike the taste and turn to bottled water instead.

Such a huge dependence on bottled water has led to 26 billion plastic bottles being made worldwide each year, equalling 30 million tonnes of plastic. Although they’re recyclable, most single-use plastic bottles end up in landfill sites, or our oceans, rather than recycling centres. Fewer than half of the bottles bought in 2016 were collected for recycling and just seven per cent of those collected were turned into new bottles.

Not only are the majority of bottles disposed of in highly unsustainable ways, there is also a huge carbon footprint linked to the manufacturing process. Plastic water bottles are typically made from crude oil and take three times the amount of water to make than ends up in the bottle itself.

So what’s the solution? As specifiers, who are often asked to plan-in the provision of drinking water for commercial and residential facilities, you will be aware that many kitchens now have their drinking water available through a mains-fed instant boiling and chilled water tap.

However, it is cutting-edge filtration technology that’s required to combat the bad taste often associated with tap water. Zip Water UK’s HydroTap delivers instant highly-filtered boiling, chilled and sparkling water from one beautiful tap – an example of sustainable design at its finest.

Not only does the HydroTap make water taste great, removing the need for buying unstainable bottled water, it also includes a host of advancements like energy saving modes, turning off when it senses darkness and only heating the water that’s required, to maximise efficiency. While air-cooled rather than water-cooled technology means not one drop of water is wasted.

To top it all off, the HydroTap is now available in a wide range of designs and finishes, so there’s no need to compromise on style. There is a design for every kitchen, whether the space calls for an industrial, modern or luxury finish. The HydroTap Design range – now available for the workplace as well as the home – includes three tap styles: the elegant swan-necked Arc, the contemporary Cube and minimalist Elite. Alongside these designs are eight new trend-led Platinum finishes – rose gold, brushed rose gold, gold, brushed gold, platinum, gunmetal, nickel and brushed nickel. This never before seen range for architects means much more creative choice.

Meeting your design aspirations while also creating a space that has a reduced negative impact on the environment shouldn’t have to be a challenge. At Zip Water UK, we have brought together the best in technology and stunning design to create drinking water systems that will work for every aesthetic and environment, ensuring a brighter future for everyone. To view the HydroTap range and find a solution to suit your client’s needs, visit our new online Specifier’s Portal at