By Simon Rice, Managing Director of HSG, explains the impact that his innovative Ureco water conservation system is having on UK-wide venues.
Eleven years ago, we developed a simple but hugely effective water conservation system – the Ureco urinal sleeve and Uretech water management system.
Who would have thought that, since then the system would be the market leader in this field and receive The Queen’s Award for Enterprise in Innovation for the positive impact that it is having on businesses from single site pubs to the 02 Arena and the NEC.
Although we are a relatively small, family-run company, we and our industry partners such as Citron Hygiene, certainly punch above our weight in the industry and, between us, we have some of the most prestigious venues in the country in our customer portfolios.
All of our customers, large and small, have a common goal. They are committed to improving the washroom experience for their customers, reducing their water consumption and environmental impact as well as save money both on utility bills and costly repairs.
So how do we achieve this?
The Ureco urinal sleeve stops smells by trapping urinal odours below the surface and reduces blockages through our patented enzyme system which breaks down the fat, acid and salt in urine.
This enables the Uretech to reduce urinal flushes from around 96 times to just four times a day - saving money by reducing water consumption by up to 96%.
The innovation does not stop there and, following further extensive research and development, we more recently launched the Uretech Plus professional water management solution.
Fitted onto a venue’s existing water meter, Uretech Plus uses the latest Wi-Fi technology to provide minute by minute readings of water usage to a laptop, tablet or smartphone. A particular benefit is that it alerts to unusual water usage eg: a leaking tap – avoiding disastrous flood damage.
The NEC was the first venue to adopt Ureco system ten years ago by installing it in 800 urinals across the site.
In the first year alone, it saved enough water to fill 33 Olympic-sized swimming pools and, since those early days, more than 927 million litres of water have been saved across the site.
With upwards of 2.4 million visitors coming through the NEC doors each year, our partnership with the venue has provided them with an easy and effective way to help meet their ambitious sustainability commitments and help them on their way to achieving greener events.
Elsewhere in the West Midlands, Birmingham Museums Trust have reduced daily water usage from 16,674 litres to just 628 litres by installing Ureco and most of its key sites.
This equates to an annual saving of 5.8 million litres of water a year – saving the charity more than £14,500 a year in utility bills and even more in costly maintenance work.
Food outlets have particularly engaged with Ureco – recognising that many customers judge food hygiene standards on the cleanliness of the customer washrooms.
This was exactly the reason why Pizza Hut commissioned us to install and subsequently service the Ureco in washrooms at their 250 restaurants across the UK.
As well as saving around £125,000 a year in water bills, Ureco ensures that customers get a good first impression of the premises and further endorses their brand. This contributes to increased customer satisfaction, loyalty and return spend.
At the other end of the food chain – Ureco is fast becoming a product of choice for food manufacturers who obviously operate under strict hygiene guidelines.
As well as household names such as Kellogg’s, McCain and Premier Foods, one of our most loyal customers is Shire Foods which manufactures pies for supermarkets and Premiere league football grounds.
Cost savings there are substantial and the factory’s hygiene team has also reported another positive impact in that the male washrooms now have to be cleaned only once daily instead of several times around the clock due to reduced odours and blockages achieved by installing Ureco.
Having demonstrated their commitment to water conservation, many venues -including the NEC - are now engaging with us further through our latest innovation, Cleen, which is the UK’s first fully integrated washroom services system.
Visitors log washroom reviews on the Cleen App which is free to download onto smartphones or on the Cleen Tablet which we install on-site.
Users can either compliment accessible and clean washrooms or post feedback on issues such as the need to refresh soap supplies or toilet paper.
The reviews are easy to post by clicking different icons and users can even upload photographs to support their review. These can then be viewed by other Cleen App users.
Venues then have access to their own Cleen Dashboard which is a complete washroom management tool. This enables the venue to have immediate access to the Cleen App reviews so they can directly respond to customer feedback and immediately rectify any issues reported.
Among the washrooms listed on the Cleen App is the NEC’s second Changing Places fully-accessible washroom for people with disabilities which has been installed in the Piazza.
Changing Places washrooms are larger than standard facilities to accommodate a wheelchair user and their carer and includes equipment such as height-adjustable adult-sized changing bench, ceiling hoist and height adjustable washbasin.
We have teamed up with the Changing Places Consortium which campaigns for the facilities across the UK and the Cleen App includes a dedicated review section for users to share good and bad reviews of the specially-adapted washrooms.
The vision through all our work here at HSG is to work collectively with partners to raise industry standards and improve the world one washroom at a time.
Innovation is the key to achieving this goal and, by continuing to invest in research and development, we are committed to finding the solutions that save our customers money, improve their environmental credentials and showcase their premises their own clientele in the best possible light.
Simon Rice, Managing Director of HSG.