Facility Dude

Saving water and paper in the bathroom

By FacilityDude
May 16, 2014

Energy, Energy Management

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Now that it's spring, you may be using more water to help cultivate your gardens and lawns. Yet, as most facility managers already know, the largest percentage of your water usage is still coming from the restrooms. They can also be breeding grounds for bacteria and a substantial waste of paper depending on how people dry their hands. In other words, if you're looking to make your facility safer, healthier and more energy efficient, you may want to start in the bathroom.

Cutting down on water

Saving water and paper in the bathroom Restrooms are the source of the most water consumption in office buildings, totaling up to 37 percent of the building's usage, with cooling and heating only using 28 percent, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Hospital and hotel bathrooms use up a similar percentage of water. Yet, while bathroom's water consumption is high, it's also possible to minimize waste.

As FacilitiesNet notes, vigilance is the best strategy against wasted water in the restroom. That means implementing routine preventive inspections, so that you can spot leaking fixtures, faucets toilets and shower heads. If you have to replace something, choose a low-flow product that aims to save water. Submetering is also an effective technique. Software such as UtilityTrac can help keep records of your water usage throughout the month.

Keeping clean and dry

Another bathroom concern is the spread of bacteria. Apart from regularly cleaning the restroom, washing your hands is essential to prevent the spread of disease. Yet, once your hands are washed, you need to dry them, and that can pose a problem. According to FMLink, Northwestern Memorial Hospital had issues with people clogging toilets with paper towels, or else leaving them on the ground and potentially spreading bacteria. The hospital decided to refurbish its bathrooms with hand dryers, which it found to be a viable and hygienic option after consulting with its Infection Control Board.

If you're thinking of making the switch to hand dryers, remember to do your research. FMLink pointed out that some hand dryers are more efficient and cleaner than others.

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