Skip to main content

We are building a new public training center and want to be as green as possible.

For restrooms we are planning faucets with sensors for turning on/off, high speed hand dryers, occupancy sensors for lights, and waterless urinals.

We are also looking at LED lighting in place of fluorescent fixtures in the entire facility.

Does any have any experience, advise or recommendations in this area?

Terry O

Replies sorted oldest to newest

Consider the costs associated with manufacturing, installation and paying for these devices before declaring them to be green. I did see LED replacement bulbs for regular household usage, but they were still quite expensive, like $15 but are supposed to last for 15 years or so. The first compact flourescent lights were supposed to last 5 years, but 2 was more realistic.

From a practical standpoint, if you are going to go for the touchless faucets and urinal valves, arrange the bathroom so that you can also have a touchless exit. I have always wondered why after disinfecting your hands, you must touch the door handle to exit.
RM
Danny

Great points - it is hard to separate the hype from the fact with these new lighting systems. The LED systems are certainly more expensive.

In addition to green we are seeking to minimize maintenance - and flourescents seem to always have balasts buzzing, twinkling bulbs, burn outs etc...

As for restrooms, yes - we had to fight our designer to get push out doors rather than open in door swing.

The crazy thing about our county permit process is that we had a great big private unisex handicap bathroom designed and they made us remove it and put a large handicap stall in each individual bathroom. I think that is not a great solution but they are being very firm about the design. I know we met federal standards.

This has been a crazy project.

Terry O
RM
quote:
Originally posted by Danny Harvey:
I have always wondered why after disinfecting your hands, you must touch the door handle to exit.


I will no longer feel schizo when I leave the bathrooms and wonder "what idiot made this a swing in door. I just washed my hands, I wonder how many didn't."

D
Thanks Danny, I thought I was the only one who thunk that way Wink
RM
Terry,
While you are in the design stage, consider also if you have not already done so,
1. Building roofs/walls that can generate electricity or hot water i.e solar panels/heat sinks
2. Bio-mass methane generators are popular in China and less so in India. If the rest rooms serve many people, these may prove economic. You may need to use water in the urinals though.
3. Sensors for lights throughout the building, not just the rest rooms
Vee
RM
Terry, there is another issue with waterless urinals. Good building codes require no less than a 2 deg slope to any horizontal drain line. Since the urine is not diluted it is possible that it will lay in drain pipes and cause a buildup of scale and associated minerals. With a standard urinal, the urine is significantly diluted from the flushing operation.

I have direct experience with this as I'm familiar with a building built from "scratch" with waterless urinals. It took about 7-10 years and all had to be ripped out and drain lines redone. Actually low flow water type urinals were then used as a replacement to avoid a repeat scenario.

John from Pa
RM
Thank you - we have made the decision NOT to go with the waterless urinals at this time.

I really appreciate that advice.

OK now we are talking about LED lighting. It looks like they offer fixtures to replace flourescents. LEDs claim to last longer, have no ballast maintenance, do not flicker and save energy.

They are a little over double the flourescent fixtures we were planning on.

Any advice on LED lighting?

Terry O
RM
Terry,

I haven't seen the latest and greatest leds. Ones I had seen earlier emitted a light that was seems to be a bit on the "cool" end of the spectrum. Some people rather have more of a warmer tone from the bulbs. There may be bulbs that mimic sunlight better nowadays. I think this would fall under personal preference more than technical performance.

Aubrey
RM
Being locked in a compressor room last week (malfunctioning door lock) gave me pause to think about which way the door should swing and I literally gained a new perspective. Eeker

If the door swings out, it is considerable harder to gain entrance through force, mechanical lock manipulation, etc. Fortunately for me I was prepared and with the few tools that I carry (this would have been a piece of cake for Rusty Wink ) was able to open the lock from the inside. I wouldn't have been able if the door had swung out, though. I would have had to use the back door and walk all the way around the 700,000 sq foot warehouse.

Sorry Dave. Getting out is more important than getting out with no germs.
RM
I am familiar with some of those dry facilities, which John from PA mentioned, a forward looking owner at the time of installation. We have a couple at work, but the last couple of years they have developed an odor.

quote:
I wonder if anybody really knows why the door swings the way it does?


Not all bathrooms have doors. In some parts of the world I would avoid green bathrooms, because the green stuff is alive.
RM
Bill,

I stopped in the newest interstate rest stop in VA last week. (almost half have been closed because of budget problems but still no crowds)

Went in, did my business, washed and dried without touching anything. I'm not sure how "green" it is, but it's a great concept hygiene-wise.

I can see how the dry facilities would develop an odor after a while.

Knowing the places you go, I would definitely watch out for the green stuff.
RM
I'm with Danny, I've been to the same rest stop. No doors, automatic flushers, and automatic sinks. I wouldn't be thinking green, I'd be thinking clean. With all the flu virisus around, I prefer efficiency and hygiene over green. And use paper towels instead of a blower (I hate those things) The paper is made from recycled fiber and provide alot of jobs. They make those dispensers automatic as well. (I like paper!)
If you realy want green, do like our great grandparents and build an outhouse ( with the moon in the door) over a hole in the ground that you could fill with the dirt from the next hole. (I remember it was wide enough for a few magazines stacked next to it). Smiler
Don't get me wrong, I'm all for green and we have all seen improvements in industry on controling emisions, however, a bathroom? Make it hands free,(except what you have too), and keep it clean and thats impressive! I think everyone will agreee. And use American made products. (No explination required).

Pete
RM
Well after 2 years of having waterless urinals in our building I'd have to say they are a success. There were some transitional issues to be sure- such as you can't use the urinal as a water dump station or the bearier material gets depleted and they get stinky. After our learning period they have been problem-free as far as I can tell.

I'm even thinking of installing one in my backyard behind my favorite tree. Big Grin
RM
So far as door swing...do you really need locks/latches on the restroom doors? A view blocking partition would eliminate sightline problems and just install an out-swing self-closing door with no lock or latch.

Unless I missed it, no one has mentioned a skylight! Terry, we average 280 sunny days a year here in the sunshine state! With the reflective light conduits available you do not even need straight line access. Unless you plan to work a lot of nights you may never need to turn a light on except during our annual hurricane days! Wink Put in motion detecting light level sensors and there you are! Can't get much greener than sunlight!
RM
Last edited by Registered Member
I completely agree with Pete and Danny; BUT if people wash their hands properly - and dry them properly - there would be less of a hygiene issue when it comes down to touching handles etc. and therefore there would be no need for hands-free!

Drying hands properly (with recycled paper of course) significantly reduces the amount of bacteria on your hands and therefore maximizes hygiene within the washroom. I think there are ways to balance the amount of Green with Hygiene!? Sustainability is key and the environment should be at the heart of our facilities (but not at the expense of cleanliness). Don't you agree?

Chris
RM

Add Reply

×
×
×
×
Link copied to your clipboard.
×