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Ahead of the curve: Water

21 March 2019

Our Ahead Of The Curve campaign explores our passion for sustainability and protecting the world around us. Through a series of blogs that focus on the Earth's elements, we will be discussing our own methods and sharing our journey to become the most ecological business we can.

Ahead of the Curve: Water


To celebrate World Water Day this Friday we’re taking a look at how we collectively use water as a business, how we can reduce our consumption and sharing tips on how to re-use waste water.

Despite growing awareness and a recent push against climate change, water wastage is still an issue that goes unspoken by many. Fundamental to human life, and said to be decreasing at a rapid rate, water is an element that humankind and our planet simply cannot survive without.

‘England could run short of water in 25 years’.

- Damian Carrington, The Guardian.
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Our method of steam bending wood uses just two elements: water and heat.
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Our new steam generator has made our steam bending process even more ecologically sound and creates very little waste water.

Water at Tom Raffield:

Steam bending:

At Tom Raffield, steam bending sits at the heart of our story, an ancient skill remastered for modern times – bending solid wood beyond its perceived limits with the help of just water and heat.

Hinging on the use of a single steam generator (a machine we have recently invested in to reduce our energy and water consumption) our process is very ecologically sound. To ensure that our steamer only uses the exact amount of water it needs, our generator has been plumbed into our water supply and as a result produces minimal water wastage.  

Any surplus water that remains in the stainless-steel pipes or chamber of the steamer is re-used the next time the steamer is fired up.

How we’ll improve:

Now our new system is in place, we would like to reduce our water consumption further by collecting the condensed air that escapes from our steamer when it is emptied and filtering this back into the chamber to be re-used. Furthermore, we have plans to begin harvesting the rainwater that falls across our sites and using it to top up steamers, water plants and cook with in our communal kitchen space.

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Tea time: the plastic ban in our workshops and office means that each Tom Raffield member now has their own re-usable cup.


Here at Tom Raffield we like to think of ourselves as a health conscious, active work force. Drinking water to keep ourselves hydrated, both in the office and workshop environment is a high priority.

Being lucky enough to be in a beautiful remote area of Cornwall, our tap water is great tasting… last year we proudly banned single-use plastic water bottles from our workplace and instead adopted the use of refillable, insulated bottles to carry both hot drinks and tap water. Now each of our team sports their own personalised flask or cup and is helping to cut the overall waste generated by the company. We also have a water and energy saving hydro tap that stores both boiling and chilled water – helping to save on running costs.

How we’ll improve:

Our long term goal is to install a greywater system in our offices so we could re-purpose the water used by our dishwasher, sinks and shower. A system such as this could reduce our overall water consumption by up to 50% and would really help to make a difference.

Members of our team enjoying a lesson in stand up paddle boarding last summer at a beach close to the Tom Raffield workshops.

Beach cleaners: smiling on despite the Cornish mizzle!


Being based in South-West Cornwall, a higher than the average percentage of our team spend a lot of their free time in or near the sea! Keeping our oceans clean is just as important to us as reducing our water waste. Whether it be surfing, swimming, kayaking or windsurfing our time spent in the sea is precious and we value being in a safe, clean environment that doesn’t compromise our health or the natural wildlife around us.

The Tom Raffield team take part in annual beach cleans with members of our very own team organising events in the local community. Collecting plastic and other items from our shorelines reduces the volume that ends up in our oceans, rivers and streams and consequently impacts water and wildlife.

How we’ll improve:

Whilst organising and taking part in activities such as beach cleans is something we can help with now, moving forward we strive to share our story, inform our partners of improvements they can make, as well as working closer with charities that dedicate their time to keeping our oceans safe and clean.

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Tom and Danielle's Grand Designs home and kitchen was designed to include modern, water-saving appliances.

5 easy tips to save water at home:

1. Turn off the tap when brushing your teeth. If you are not doing this already it’s a great place to start and literally couldn’t be easier. Leaving the water running for two minutes a day wastes approximately 6 litres of water!

2. Take shorter showers. Showers use roughly a third of the water bathing does but taking a shorter shower could save even more, plus it’s cost effective too.

3. Keep bottled water in the fridge. Putting a large glass bottle of tap water in the fridge will ensure you have chilled water all of the time, saving running the tap which wastes up to 10L of tap water a day.

4. Fill the kettle with only what is needed. This will save water and energy.

5. Use any leftover (cooled) water from boiling vegetables and drinking water glasses to feed houseplants or water the garden.

Posted: 21.03.19
Updated: 19.04.21

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