For good reason, sustainability in restrooms typically focuses on water savings. Water is the resource that’s most obviously — and most significantly — being consumed, and it’s where many facilities have an opportunity to make a quick, potentially significant impact by reducing water flow in faucets, toilets and urinals.
And while those measures should be taken to reduce water use, there are other ways to boost sustainability in commercial restrooms, some of which involve taking a step back and looking at the entire picture.
We’ve got four ways to think outside the faucet and discover surprising sustainability opportunities.
1. Reduce demand
No, we aren’t suggesting removing the water fountains to keep people from needing to make a trip to the restroom. Rather, reduce the demand for water through your fixture choices.
Switching to sensor faucets from traditional manual faucets can save up to a gallon of tempered water per hand wash, while providing the hands-free experience users prefer.
Sensor faucets also reduce waste by preventing users from accidentally or purposefully leaving water running. An automatic shut-off ensures water runs only for a certain period, regardless of potentially malicious efforts to cover or otherwise interfere with sensor operation.
2. Choose quality
Durable, commercial-grade restroom fixtures last substantially longer than lower-quality options, requiring little in the way of repair and replacement. Faucets that don’t stand up to regular wear and tear may need to be replaced frequently, as often every year — leading to lots of faucets being sent to landfills.
Selecting high-quality options not only reduces the time and money associated with regular maintenance but also cuts back on the facility’s overall waste.
3. Fix leaks
Leaks account for more than 6% of an average facility’s total water use, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). For example, a faucet leaking at the rate of one drop per second can send an extra 3,000 gallons of water per year down the drain.
This kind of waste may go undetected if a facility doesn’t regularly monitor for and repair leaks. The good news is that leak repairs are often easy, requiring inexpensive parts and a low time investment from the maintenance team or contractor.
4. Consider the source
There is increasing awareness that how a product is manufactured is part of the overall sustainability equation for whatever facility it’ll eventually end up in. That changing perspective is reflected in LEED and other green building certification programs that incorporate the manufacturing processes of building materials into their assessments.
Selecting restroom fixtures from manufacturers that adopt sustainable manufacturing processes can lighten the building’s footprint beyond the four walls, helping to promote better environmental stewardship throughout the supply chain.
Taking a more holistic approach to boosting sustainability can improve performance, save money and reduce environmental impact across facilities — from the restrooms to the rest of the facility.