It’s not just flow rates: 4 other ways to promote sustainability and cleanliness in commercial restrooms and kitchens
With the doors beginning to close on a season of pandemic, another door opens, inviting customers back into our restaurants and commercial kitchens, as well as the public restrooms attached to them.
It’s for obvious reasons that sustainability in restrooms typically focuses on water savings. Kitchens may be slightly less obvious, but with pre-rinse sinks, dish washers and pot fillers, kitchens are water hogs as well.
With water being used at every sink, toilet, urinal, pre-rinse, dishwasher and pot filler, all day long, facilities can often make a quick, potentially significant impact by reducing water flow in those fixtures. While this core measures should be taken to reduce water use, there are other ways to boost sustainability in commercial restrooms and kitchens, 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 some surprising sustainability opportunities.
1. Fix leaks
This one may not be surprising, but it’s overlooked surprisingly often.
Leaks account for more than 6% of an average facility’s total water use, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). 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. That’s enough to fill three fire trucks.
It’s a level of waste that’s easily prevented with regular monitoring and leak repair. The good news is that repairing leaks is often easy, requiring inexpensive parts and a low time investment from the maintenance team or contractor. Buying high quality materials also reduces the incidence of leaks, and by extension the cost of facility down time.
2. Reduce demand
Reducing demand isn’t about locking the bathrooms or removing the water fountains to reduce trips. Rather, look for ways to reduce demand for water through 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. In the age of Covid, sensors are also a safety measure, eliminating high-touch surfaces. Take for example, the water glass and pitcher filling station in the kitchen and the bar. By replacing them with the sensor operated T&S EC-1210 water glass fillers, you reduce overflow and germ transmission.
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.
3. Choose quality
Durable, commercial-grade kitchen and 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 as every year — leading to lots of faucets being sent to landfills.
Within the parameters of the kitchen, only commercial caliber faucets are equipped to prevent backflow cross contamination between the clean water from the pre-rinse spray head, and the dirty dishwater they are often dunked in.
High-quality faucets are also less likely to develop leaks, helping operations keep water use in check.
Selecting durable options not only reduces the time and money associated with regular maintenance but also cuts back on the facility’s overall waste.
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 perspective is reflected in LEED and other green building certification programs that incorporate the manufacturing processes of building materials into their assessments.Selecting kitchen and 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.