Oras Group enhances faucets and showers with technology that promotes sustainable development
. The company’s product development aims to water and energy saving, as well as user-friendly products.
Nowadays, digitalization has been extended to consumer electronics. Electric toothbrushes start to blink when the user has brushed their teeth for two minutes. Sports watches and walking meters indicate when ten thousand steps have been completed.
In April 2021, Oras Group, through its brands, Oras and HANSA, launched a digital hand shower that gives real-time feedback to the user about their water and energy use. The digital hand shower can produce its own energy from water. It is easy to install, and batteries and electricity are not needed.
The digital hand shower is based on long-term research and product development.
“The data is transferred from shower to application via Bluetooth. This gives instant information about each person’s water and energy use compared to the control group,” says Juhani Lempinen, who functions as Product Category Manager in Oras Group’s SMART and digital business.
“The flow and temperature sensors of the hand shower measure consumption. The digital hand shower immediately informs you of water and energy use during each shower. This enables consumer behavior to be influenced,” Lempinen continues.
The price of a digital hand shower is just over 160 euros, but a family of three will save the shower’s price in just one year, Lempinen says in summary. The 160 euros contain only 20–30 euros for water, and more than 100 euros are used to heat the water.
“There is no water shortage in Finland but we try to alert consumers especially about hot water consumption. Heating water requires a lot of energy, and this energy goes directly down the drain,” says Lempinen.
Must doesn’t work – immediate feedback does
During product development, Oras Group examines consumer behaviors in detail. Lempinen tells us how consumer habits and usage behavior were changed without strict measures.
“We don’t want to be forced to save water. Oras Group enables savings and offers the tools for it, but each person decides themselves whether to use them. A sports bracelet is a similar kind of tool,” says Oras Group’s CTO Janne Rautavuori.
“There would certainly be savings if we cut the water pipes and replaced them with zinc buckets. This obviously isn’t what we want. The best way is to reduce losses and thereby create savings. By doing this, we will optimally achieve our sustainable development goals,” explains Rautavuori.
A product wanted by consumers was produced with extensive cooperation and development efforts.
“People want to set goals for themselves. If I consumed 2 kWh in the shower today, I want to consume only 1.8 kilowatts tomorrow.”
Oras Group has studied consumption behaviors. Savings were not achieved by force, at least in the long run. Instead, a digital hand shower delivers results.
“The digital hand shower enables immediate feedback to users about how much water and energy they’ve used during their shower,” Rautavuori says.
“When the result can be seen right away, we automatically start saving water and energy. A digital hand shower can save up to 30 percent, but more than 20 per cent is common.”
Hot water already constitutes more than 20 percent of the total energy consumption in Finnish homes. The savings achieved with a digital hand shower are remarkable.
Oras Group works to support sustainable development and responsibility in three ways:
- 1. The carbon footprint of products must be decreased during their entire lifecycle.
- Products must be ecological to consume a minimum of water and energy during their lifecycle. This is achieved for example with digitalization or various cloud services. The carbon footprint from production is only about 10 percent during the product’s entire lifecycle. The remaining 90 percent of the carbon footprint is created when faucets are used.
- 2. Saving energy and water must be made easy.
Consumers are aware of their water and energy consumption and carbon footprint, but they lack the will to consume less. In addition, water and energy savings must be correctly “sold and marketed” to consumers. Oras Group wants to encourage consumers to a sustainable lifestyle and commit them to it by offering sophisticated products and services. Responsibility and sustainable development must be the objective in all subareas and daily activities.
The new digital hand shower is an example of practical tools that affect water consumption and carbon footprint.
- 3. Sustainable materials.
Materials must be safe, recyclable, and ecological. Impurities must not dissolve into the water from faucet materials. Oras Group assumes responsibility for the product for its entire lifecycle, starting with ideas, design, implementation, and use.
- The use of materials, energy, and water is thus minimized. This concerns not only the products themselves but also the packaging.
Sustainable development expertise at Oras Group is among the best in the world. Saving water and energy has been in the company’s DNA since the 1980s. Faucets with a water-saving button were brought to market during that decade. Later, the company launched touchless faucets that save water and energy.
Research and product development was accelerated with an acquisition when Oras Group acquired the Swiss start-up company Amphiro about three years ago.