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Leveraging Tech to Build Better Bathrooms

Leveraging Tech to Build Better Bathrooms

Commercial bathrooms are an easy area to overlook in development and buildings. They contribute to the quality, experience, and image of the building. Bathrooms need to be functional and easy to maintain. Integrating technology into commercial bathrooms can therefore improve user experience, and contribute to a long-term successful maintenance program. Stakeholders in new commercial building constructions can benefit from thinking long-term and considering several elements of technology in the process.

Effective Anti-Graffiti Partitions Make a Difference 

Graffiti lessens the image of the building and increases maintenance costs. Selecting the best material for these partitions is key to dealing with graffiti and stains. There are many choices including powder-coated steel, Phenolic core, plastic laminate, solid color reinforced composite (SCRC) and recycled high-density polyethylene (HDPE). Typical bathroom partitions suppliers can review the advantages, trade-offs and costs of each material. Below are several areas to consider upfront. 

Going into a project with the end user in mind is a long-term and responsible approach. Bathroom partitions will have to be cleaned of many different types of stains and marks. According to the Bobrick Advisory Bulletin TB-60 Toilet Partition Cleaning & Maintenance, “Most stains can be completely removed with the cleaning methods listed. However, if the laminated plastic surface is scratched or badly worn, stains may be more difficult to remove and some may leave a ghosting effect.” 

Restroom partition installation is not something the company or landlord wants to do twice. Material is important in such a high-maintenance and intensely-cleaned area. There are four factors that can contribute to a partition decision and long-term maintenance:

  • Material and construction of the partition
  • Frequency and types of stains and marks
  • Chemical(s) used to clean the partition
  • Frequency of the cleaning

Each material has its features and benefits. As an example, laminated plastic surfaces may swell and delaminate over time. HDPE and Phenolic bathroom partitions are highly durable and easy to repair. Their hard-wearing benefits add value as the building gains occupancy and gets used. Obviously, choosing a reputable and experienced commercial bathroom partitions supplier and installer can make a significant difference.

The type of business and anticipated demands may help in selecting the right partition materials. Here are a few areas to consider when choosing partitions:

  • The type of business—office, school, hotel, retail or restaurant
  • The amount of traffic the bathroom is going to see
  • The anticipated amount of wear and tear
  • The look the customer is trying to achieve

 Leveraging Tech to Build Better Bathrooms

Touchless Technology in Faucets and Soap Dispensers 

Touchless faucets contribute to good hygiene, save water, and can reduce maintenance and repair versus standard faucets. There are numerous elements to consider when selecting the best faucet for a commercial building.

Power options include the following:

  • AC
  • DC
  • Hybrid battery cells with various life times
  • Solar
  • No power

When specifying commercial restrooms, discussing the power supply options with the building partners is necessary. 

Sensing technologies include the following common choices:

  • Infrared
  • Ultrasonic

Other options that will come under consideration are:

  • Flow rates
  • Control options for shut off cycles and times
  • Specified compliances can be simple or complex, depending on the project. There are over 20 compliances, including ADA, BAA, carbon-neutral, and Prop 65. To avoid reworking, researching what the needs are for each bathroom. 

Commercial touchless faucets are available with the same vandal-resistant aerators that most builders, contractors, and maintenance staff have come to know.

Following the manufacturer’s installation instructions is essential with touchless faucets. It is important to keep them free from metal objects so as to not interrupt the sensor’s performance.

Selecting a touchless soap dispenser can be an easier, but no less important decision. Many commercial bathrooms have wall or sink-mounted dispensers. Most touchless soap dispensers use infrared sensors. Like faucet sensors, they detect the bathroom occupant’s heat energy. When the user puts his or her hands near the dispenser, the sensor will engage. This causes the soap to be dispensed. 

In addition to determining the form of soap to be dispensed, the builder, contractor or maintenance staff would benefit from a conversation around vandal-resistant options, power source and dispenser capacity. Battery cells can be long-lasting; there are several options. 

 Leveraging Tech to Build Better Bathrooms

Bathroom Technology in Water Monitoring Systems 

Commercial landlords and companies may also be interested in water monitoring and management systems. There is a growing interest in sustainability; water leaks work against this and waste money. Improved leak management in commercial buildings is central to water conservation and efficiency improvement. Sensors can be installed, which can alert building maintenance to the exact issue in a certain bathroom. This can prepare the proper professional for the problem with the parts on hand. As written in a 2018 paper published in OPUS, “a leak due to a faulty solenoid would need to be repaired by an electrician rather than a plumber.” 

Sensors in fixtures can also provide data around traffic patterns and frequency of use in each bathroom. Bathroom cleaning and maintenance are often contracted and managed by a third party. Data provided by sensors can help in scheduling cleaning and maintenance times. The data can also be used in future building design based on the needs and configurations of bathrooms. 

 Leveraging Tech to Build Better Bathrooms

Environmental Control Technology Contributes to the Ambient Environment 

A bad-smelling restroom reduces the impression and experience of any commercial building. Floor drains, urine, unmaintained toilets, and tile grout are all contributors to restroom order. A builder, contractor, construction worker or maintenance worker could add value by considering these factors. All stakeholders want the entire bathroom experience to be as best as possible. There are many companies that have effective technology as a solution. A simple Google search for “commercial bathroom odor solutions” will get anyone started. 

Ventilation and dehumidification also contribute to the environment. Standard 62.1-2013 sets the requirements for exhaust rates per water closet and urinals in commercial facilities. These ventilation standards speak about the number of times the air must be exchanged. This can now be enhanced through technology. Sensors that count the number of restroom users by the hour can smartly predict occupancy patterns. Ventilation and dehumidification systems can be proactively engaged shortly before peak occupancy times. This can contribute to a better restroom experience. 

Room temperature is the final ambient element to consider. Instead of simply a thermostat control that changes with the time of day, fixture or ceiling-mounted sensors can dictate temperature variation. This need is even more important in higher traffic and relatively smaller-spaced public bathrooms. Airports, schools, and stadiums are three examples. Sensors can detect the number of occupants and alter temperature accordingly. 

There are several technology-driven elements that can contribute to a functionally effective and energy-saving bathroom. Proactively introducing these in the initial construction planning phase can result in a satisfied customer, and a positive bathroom experience for future occupants.