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In many organizations, there are two priorities for restroom fixtures: cleanliness and sustainability. In some cases, those two goals can be in conflict. But that need not be the case. Understanding fixture options is key to the balancing act.
First, determine the sustainable approach for the organization. Some owners only want code-minimum facilities; others want a moderate sustainable goal of LEED certification. Others take an aggressive approach and want as many water-efficient fixtures as possible in their facilities.
Next, ask the same questions about cleanliness issues. Health care facilities have deep concerns about infection control and keeping patients and the public from touching plumbing fixtures. As a result, they will have an aggressive approach. In other types of facilities, where employees rather than the public will be using the fixtures, a moderate approach may be taken.
Let's take a look at how different plumbing fixtures can help facility managers plan for restroom facilities that perform the balancing act between maintainability and sustainability.
A good place to start is with water closet considerations. With new construction, major renovation projects and replacement fixtures, facility managers should remove old fixtures using more than 1.6 gallons per flush (gpf) and replace them with newer, more efficient fixtures that use 1.28 gpf.
One tool to help in selecting fixtures is the EPA-sponsored WaterSense program. WaterSense-labeled fixtures are third-party tested, ensuring compliance with both the required effective flush volume and solid waste removal. When possible, specify fixtures that have the WaterSense label.