Joining Forces, Saving CO2e : Industry and Private Households

Climate Crisis – All Signs Point to Change

The climate crisis poses major challenges for all of us – businesses and society alike. The framework conditions for our lives are changing. But are we changing our behavior? How sustainable and livable the future will be is determined by our actions here and now. In particular, the use of natural resources, such as water, is of central importance. Our direct living environment, our living space, is not exempt from this. On the contrary, there are many ways to save CO2e here; for example, in the bathroom. The Hansgrohe Group's bathroom analysis takes a closer look.

Hansgrohe Group: Water Conservation is Climate Protection.
Fragile idyll: The balance of our environment is sensitive and complex. We humans have massively upset this balance through our misconduct. Protecting our environment must be a top priority.

Tangible for All: The Climate Crisis and its Impact

Massive floods in parts of Asia and Australia, heat waves in Europe, extreme drought in the countries of East Africa: Hardly a day goes by without terrible news. Each and every one of us experiences what this means in our everyday lives. Bad harvests, the local news channels warn about severe storms; in some parts of the continent there is a constant reminder of the high risk of forest fires, and elsewhere authorities call on people to conserve water.

The fact is, the probability and intensity of extreme weather events increases around the world. The effects of global warming are becoming clearer to scientists, as are their influencing factors. Climate change is already making many extreme weather events, such as heat waves, more likely and more severe.

Climate change is a reality – with all the accompanying consequences.

Water and Life

Water also plays a central role in the climate crisis. Either there is a lack of it or violent storms lead to flooding. Both scenarios have a massive impact on biodiversity, ecosystems and our lives.

But it is not only drought or floods that are a major problem; our use of water is, as well. The availability and quality of this vital resource is changing drastically due to human activity:

  • Groundwater is being contaminated, for example, by intensive agricultural use. High nitrate contamination of groundwater is the result.
  • Increasingly large cities draw drinking water from steadily growing catchment areas and from even deeper groundwater deposits.
  • At the same time, agriculture and industry are consuming more and more water and groundwater levels continue to decline.

The solution may lie in sustainable water management. We need to change the way we live and manage water. Because: water conservation is climate protection.

Acting in Solidarity, Saving Energy

The climate crisis also includes the finite nature of fossil resources. The switch to renewable energy sources is necessary and all the more urgent because of the threat of a shortage of natural gas in Europe. Consumers are called upon to save energy and act in solidarity.

How Adaptive Are We?

The climate crisis is urging us to rethink and act. It is imperative that each and every one of us address the consumption of resources, such as water, and the question of how we want to live in the future. It is time for new habits.

What this means in concrete terms is something we in Europe – in industry or private households – will experience in the coming period. Because we are all called upon to save energy. It is a matter of:

  • conserving resources,
  • adapting flexibly to new circumstances, and
  • standing together in solidarity as a society despite all the challenges.

These lessons from the energy crisis can help address the climate crisis more vigorously in the future. It is a kind of blueprint for learning new habits.

Our use of water exemplifies this: whether we conserve hot water and thus use less energy, or are frugal with water during heat waves. The decisive factor is our behavior. The motto is: adapt and consciously use natural resources.

Room for Options is Found by Those Who Seek Them 

Change requires drive. But when confronted directly with the challenges of our time, many people tend to feel overwhelmed. And these feelings arise rightly so. But we must not lose ourselves in them. Instead, it is worthwhile to look at what we can actively shape. Each of us can have a positive influence. One solution is to use our own sphere of influence, no matter what industry or profession.

At Hansgrohe, we also choose this solution path: we let insights be followed by action. As a manufacturer, we have a direct responsibility. Thus, our goal is to conserve within our sphere of influence all the resources that are becoming increasingly scarce on earth or whose consumption is fueling global warming. We are pursuing the 1.5 degree target of the Paris Climate Agreement.

We assign our concrete actions into three categories:

  1. Hansgrohe conserves water cycles
  2. Hansgrohe protects the climate
  3. Hansgrohe becomes part of the circular economy

The sustainability team of the Hansgrohe Group has defined 10 initiatives with concrete objectives and projects that contribute to these three fields of action. These include Green Production, Green Packaging and Green Products initiatives.

Following the Largest Positive Impact

Adapting the way we live and do business is an immense challenge. The road is paved with major milestones to reach. But in the face of the climate crisis, inaction is not an option – neither for politics, nor for society or business. It is only logical to start where by far the greatest lever is.

For Hansgrohe, the biggest lever for saving water, energy, and thus CO2e, is reducing the water consumption of products during their long-term usage phase.

"By 2030, we want to convert our entire water-carrying product portfolio to water- and energy-saving technologies. In the future, water-saving products must be part of every energy-efficient renovation and new construction. We are committed to this where we, as a manufacturer, can have a particularly positive influence and make a contribution to climate protection: in the bathroom and kitchen sector," says Hans Jürgen Kalmbach, Chairman of the Executive Board, Hansgrohe SE, "Reducing the need for fresh hot water is our major goal."

“Everything we do has an impact on the climate. We have to be aware of that, each and every one of us.”
Steffen Erath, Head of Innovation & Sustainability bei Hansgrohe

Rethinking (Living) Spaces – The Bathroom

The finiteness of natural resources on our planet requires new habits and drive. A large sphere of influence for each of us arises in our immediate environment:

Habitats of people extend to cities, villages, houses, apartments, the great outdoors. This is where we live, this is where we exert a great deal of influence on our environment. Decades of "higher, faster, further" in industrialized nations have led people to claim more and more space and resources for themselves. Buildings, for example, are among the biggest CO2 polluters. At 38 percent, they account for a considerable proportion of global emissions. This includes not only construction, but also operation, such as heating, hot water, electricity and air conditioning.

It is time to rethink (living) spaces as well.

Researched: Saving CO2e in the Bathroom

How your own four walls are faring in terms of climate compatibility and energy efficiency can well be illustrated using a single living space: the bathroom. In which phase do you think the most CO2e can be saved in the bathroom? During construction, during use or during disposal?

The correct answer is: in the utilization phase. This accounts for 90 percent of CO2e emissions.

This is the central result of a bathroom analysis by the Hansgrohe Group. We looked at the CO2e emissions that occur during the construction and disposal phases, as well as during a 20-year usage phase of a bathroom.

Tips for New Showering Habits

Where there are a lot of CO2e emissions, there is also a lot of potential for improvement. Our calculations from the analysis show what savings are possible in the bathroom. One calculation example relates to our showering habits:

A household with four people can reduce its personal carbon footprint by a total of 30 percent over a 20-year usage phase (creation and disposal included) by adjusting its showering routine.

This is possible if four people use a water-saving shower system and, at the same time

  • lower the shower temperature from 40 degrees Celsius to 35 degrees (five percent),
  • reduce the shower duration from four to two minutes (16 percent),
  • and shower only every third day instead of every second day (15 percent).

All in all, our analysis shows that there are three ways to positively influence CO2e emissions in the bathroom:

  • Those who shower less frequently, for shorter periods and cooler, and use water-saving shower heads, protect the environment. And, in times of high energy prices, also their wallets.
  • For their part, manufacturers can use technical innovations to reduce the flow of water in shower heads and offer energy-saving faucet models – as Hansgrohe does, among other things, with its CoolStart technology.
  • Using alternative energies for water heating.
Hansgrohe Group at the Greentech Festival.

A Different Reality

CO2e emissions in the bathroom demonstrated with augmented reality

In June 2022, at the Greentech Festival in Berlin, the Hansgrohe Group presented its analysis with the CO2e footprint of a bathroom for the first time. With the help of augmented reality, we made it possible for visitors to experience how much CO2e emissions are generated in the bathroom. The results of our analysis raised awareness and were a good incentive to rethink the own bathroom – for a sustainable future. 

Visitors to our booth included Federal Minister of Science Bettina Stark-Watzinger (center) and Nico Rosberg, entrepreneur and founder of the Greentech Festival (right). Copyright: Dominik Tryba

Working Together for Climate Protection

We see: There is room for action for each of us. If we ask ourselves the right questions, we will find out how we can have a positive influence. This applies to companies and private households. Because every contribution to climate protection counts. If we join forces, we can secure a sustainable future worth living. For people and the environment.

The Carbon Footprint of a Bathroom

We have summarized all the important results of our analysis for you in a nutshell.

For People and the Environment
Company Management and Sustainability Strategy
Sustainable Products
Saving Water, Energy, and CO2