IKEA ÅBÄCKEN – An innovative nozzle to help save water at home
The initial draft of a shower is often cold water, and many of us allow it to go into the drain before stepping in for a warm drizzle. But in Rene's home, this cold water is collected in a bucket for use later. He also has a fish tank. While it is soothing to see the colourful fishes do their business, these glass aquariums tend to hold several litres of water and require regular cleaning, including water change. René does not waste the aquarium's water and uses it to water plants.
A few things are different at René Marienfeld's home, and there is a lot of mindfulness regarding water usage. Though René is not a water conservationist, he is one at heart. At IKEA, he works on things that help conserve water. René is a product design engineer and works with water-related products from a technical point of view, including the likes of taps, showers, washbasins, kitchen sinks and accessories, among others.
Over the last two years, he and his team have been working on the latest water-efficient solution - the ÅBÄCKEN water nozzle for the bathroom.
"We want to enable as many people as possible to reduce their water consumption in the home," says René.
And that is where the idea of having mist and spray modes came in. The spray mode provides water at a specific flow rate and force and is quite handy when it comes to, say, cleaning the toothbrush after one has used it. Or, one may have a little dirt on their hands and need to spray the water.
"The nozzle increases the speed of the water by pushing it through very small holes, creating tiny droplets that clean your hands or your tooth brush just like a regular tap but with less water," says René.
Inspiration from another nozzle
So, the team had to start again and re-evaluate the construction of the nozzle.
The water nozzle's design enables a long life span, with a 3-year guarantee, in-line with the guarantee on IKEA hand and head showers. Also, engineered plastic tend to be cheaper, more suitable for mass production and often more environmentally friendly than, say, stainless steel options.
Innovative, accessible water saving at home
What is next for IKEA after ÅBÄCKEN?
Hanna says the team will continue to develop products that can help create behaviour changes at home around water use. IKEA will also continue focusing on creating water-saving products, such as the water recycling shower solution it is creating.
In fact, last year IKEA joined the 50L Home Coalition with the vision to make 50 litres of daily water use per person an aspiration for all. The coalition brings together companies, policymakers, innovators, researchers, and communities to develop and scale innovations for efficient water use at home. Currently, the average daily water use per person in Europe is 150 litres, and elsewhere much more.