It’s widely suggested that handwashing is a practical “do it yourself” vaccine that helps protect against illnesses of all shapes and sizes.
So how can commercial facilities encourage employees to be clean while also saving green?
In short, the wash fountain. But first:
Commercial restrooms are responsible for approximately 40% of the building’s water usage, and the average price of water has risen 41% since 2010. The price of water continues to increase significantly faster than inflation.
Those numbers make clear that saving green in the operations budget must include the restroom, and within that area, handwashing stations are a great place to start.
Handwashing Survey Results Are In
According to the 2016 Healthy Handwashing Survey conducted by Bradley Corporation, restroom visitors are willing to go to great lengths to avoid touching restroom fixtures:
- 58% will operate the flusher with a foot instead.
- 56% will use paper towel as a buffer to open the door.
- 43% will open and close the door with their backsides.
- 39% will use an elbow to avoid all contact.
People do not want to touch the fixtures in a restroom.
The survey goes even further, pointing out the most common aggravations people have about public restrooms. Some of them include:
- 71% are aggravated when they find fixtures that have an old, dirty or unkempt overall appearance.
- 69% become aggravated when the soap dispenser is empty, jammed, or doesn’t dispense enough product.
- 60% get aggravated over water on the floor of the restroom.
So the forces bearing down on the commercial restroom include water efficiency, demand for touchless fixtures, and cleanliness.
Good news. The washfountain brings balance to those forces.
The first patent for a washfountain was issued to Harry Bradley in 1919. Harry created the washfountain to address some of the same concerns we’re still grappling with today.
Washfountains offer maximum opportunity for space management. In just one example, a 54” circular wash fountain from Bradley Corporation can simultaneously serve the needs of eight hand washers. In a restroom that uses traditional lavatory faucets, with the required 30” in between faucets, eight handwashing stations would need 17.5’ in width – FOUR times the width of a washfountain.
The space management offered by wash fountains makes them an ideal fit in factories, stadiums, schools, recreation areas, convention centers, food/medical/printing facilities, and much more.
Washfountains also offer water efficiency. For example, if you consider the traditional lavatory faucet, using 2.5 gallons per minute (GPM), three people simultaneously washing their hands would use 7.5 GPM. However, a facility that utilizes a Bradley Sentry Washfountain that serves three people simultaneously will require just 1.5 GPM, producing significant water savings.
Washfountains are touch-free. Most people are familiar with the limitations of the sensor-activated faucet traditionally used in lavatory applications. Most of the time they work great, but other times you stick your hands in and nothing happens. Then you remove your hands only to have the water suddenly activate. So you put them back under the faucet, but by that time, it has turned off again.
Washfountains that incorporate the foot pedal activation are an age-old, yet brilliant solution to the demand for a touchless fixture. While not touchless in the dictionary sense, most people are just fine with a light foot depression. And that foot pedal takes care of any uncertainty about when the water will flow, also avoiding those circumstances when the sensor gets blocked and keeps the water running long after you’ve walked away.
Washfountains cost less to clean and maintain. Each fountain requires only one supply line and one waste line. Going to back to the 54” circular unit from the space management example, one washfountain unit will eliminate the need for eight supply lines and eight waste lines, reducing installation costs significantly. And it doesn’t stop there. Cleaning one washfountain requires far less time than eight separate lavatory sinks and faucets. One continuous bowl on a wash fountain results in less rag snags and crevices to scrub.
And the savings wouldn’t be complete without a little energy efficiency to top it all off. Lacking a hot water supply line means less water that needs to be heated, rounding out the cost-effectiveness of washfountain implementation.
With more handwashing stations per square foot, lower installation costs, lower operating costs, less cleaning and maintenance required, and barrier-free, ADA-compliant models available, why haven’t you changed your specifications to include wash fountains?