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Fixtures in commercial restroom environments are faced with a unique challenge. Not only are they required to withstand the high-traffic environments that come with commercial settings, but they are expected to do so while presenting water saving and hygienic benefits.

From faucets to flushometers and everything in between, innovation across all commercial restroom products is meeting that challenge, elevating the restroom to one of the most sustainable and hygiene-friendly destinations in the entire building envelope.

Water Saving Solutions

More than one billion gallons of water are wasted in the United States every year due to inefficient toilets, but with the advent of automatic fixtures, the commercial restroom is now working to reverse that trend and provide opportunities to conserve large volumes of water.

When you factor in that many restroom environments such as schools and sporting venues are susceptible to users leaving water running when using manual faucets, automatic operation has become essential to eliminate wasteful hand-washing tendencies and excessive flushes.

Dual-flush flushometers continue to save thousands of gallons of water but also address one of the most challenging issues facing decreased water volumes: reduced drain line carry. By using just the right amount of water for either solid or liquid waste, buildings can save water and avoid costly drain backups. Meanwhile, high-efficiency toilet systems with 1.1 gpf save 31 percent more water than a traditional 1.6 gpf toilet. Facilities are already starting to see the benefit of dual-flush technology, as Yale University is saving 500,000 gallons of potable water annually, while helping Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium facilitate the 10,000 people that go in and out of its restrooms on busy weekends.

Some restroom fixtures are eliminating the use of water all together. Not only do water free urinals provide 100 percent water savings, but they reduce maintenance and repair costs as well. As part of its $14 billion modernization project, the Los Angeles International Airport specified high efficiency urinals to save water as well as reduce cleaning and maintenance costs in the bustling 24-hour facility.

Hands Off For Improved Hygiene

Commercial restrooms, especially in places such as health care facilities, can quickly become a breeding ground for germs that linger on manually operated fixtures. In fact, 1.7 million health care-related illnesses (HAIs) occur each year with an alarming 99,000 deaths due to infection during their hospitalization. Fortunately, battery and solar-powered faucets with touch-free application are working to eliminate this concern by using sensors to activate the water flow shut off.

Other options to increase hygiene include the use of LCD displays to guide users though hand washing recommendations, in addition to automatic water supply pipe flushing features to avoid stagnant water. While not automatic in operation, gooseneck spouts allow hand washing up to the elbows and laminar flow faucets keep water from mixing with germ-filled air. Rush University Medical Center is using electronic faucets for their automatic water shutoff and low flow rate as well as for their laminar water flow.

Integrated sink systems are now combining soap dispensers, faucets, hand dryers and a sink basin together in one touch-free system to promote increased efficiency and better hygiene. These integrated sink systems are equipped with adjustable flow rates ranging from 1.5 gpm to 0.5 gpm to help save up to 67 percent more water, while eliminating the need for paper towels and touching any of the fixtures all together. One of downtown Detroit’s iconic buildings, One Woodward, equipped its restrooms with the all-in-one integrated sinks to provide its office tenants with a glimpse at the future of restroom design.

With the current water crisis that is impacting so many around the world, it is more important than ever to implement water saving tactics. People in the developing world exist on less than three gallons of water per day, yet most Americans are using that much water in a single flush. Thanks to smarter and more efficient fixture alternatives than ever before, the commercial restroom is charting the course to making that water shortage a thing of the past.


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