Home Bradley Continuing Improvements in Commercial Restrooms

Continuing Improvements in Commercial Restrooms

Continuing Improvements in Commercial Restrooms
Photo courtesy of American Standard

Benefits To Contractors And End Users

Continuing Improvements in Commercial Restrooms
Photo courtesy of American Standard

From the end user to maintenance team to facility manager, everyone wants a clean, sanitary bathroom experience — maybe even going so far as paying for it!

According to a restroom and hand-washing survey conducted by Bradley Corp., 56 percent of Americans say they’d consider paying as long as they were guaranteed a clean, well-stocked public restroom.

Respondents readily shared a list of things that get them riled up. Clogged or unflushed toilets; toilet paper dispensers that are jammed or empty; and partition doors that don’t latch are the biggest irritants.

Continuing Improvements in Commercial Restrooms
Photo courtesy of Moen

When asked what improvements they’d like to see, the top requests were: keep restrooms cleaner and ensure they’re adequately stocked with toilet paper, paper towels and soap.

The Bradley Corp. survey also found that bad restrooms can be bad for business. More than half of Americans say they’d think twice about returning to a location after experiencing an unclean or unpleasant restroom.

The good news is that while regular maintenance will always be a factor, there are improvements to make the restroom experience more pleasant. New and ever-improving technologies are making the commercial restroom more hygienic, more water conserving, energy saving and even simplifying maintenance.

The Minnesota Contractor asked several industry leaders about the latest improvements


“The push for more sanitary and user-friendly devices in the restroom started many years ago with regular incremental improvements,” said Richard Nortier, director of marketing, Chicago Faucets Co. “Electronic faucets, for example, have come a long way from their introduction a couple of decades ago. Today, their sensors are better, their ability to control the temperature of water is better, and their water-efficiency has improved.”

One new advancement that Chicago Faucets recently made toward energy efficiency/maintenance savings is the improvement of power options for its electronic faucets. The Long Term Power System (LTPS) is designed to provide maintenance-free power for up to 15 years under normal use.

Another advancement is the integration of technologies, such as the integration of the thermostatic mixing valve into the manual and electronic faucets, which provides scald protection at the point-of-use, without the added cost of a separate mixing valve. This reduces overall installed cost by significantly reducing installation time.

“Plus, everyone wants to use less water, and from our faucet point of view, that ability only increases with the ability to monitor our devices. The next wave of innovation will be around IoT (Internet of Things) and manufacturers are moving aggressively toward that objective. Chicago Faucets, for example, has pioneered that technology with our Commander Handheld Programming Unit,” Nortier said.


“The best commercial plumbing product innovations deliver a superb user experience combined with technologies that streamline maintenance and installation,” said James Walsh, vice president chinaware product management, LIXIL Americas (American Standard, GROHE and DXV).

The NextGen Selectronic integrated commercial faucet collection from American Standard is a perfect example with its integral ASSE 1070 Certified SmarTherm safety shut-off. Incorporated directly into the faucet spout, it protects the user from scalding, while eliminating the costs of specifying, installing and maintaining a separate mixing valve.


“Touchless hand-washing products that are durable and easy to clean and maintain are one of the most common features our customers seek,” said Kris Alderson, senior marketing manager, Bradley Corp. “Touchless products are very easy and convenient for people to use, and are also easier for building staff to clean and maintain, especially when compared with traditional fixtures’ handles, levers and buttons. Touchless fixtures, with their simplified design and hidden mechanicals, also tend to be tougher for vandals to manipulate and break.

“In search of a more sanitary, user-friendly way to wash hands, Bradley created the first completely touchless, “all-in-one” hand-washing system,” Alderson said. “This all-in-one technology is considered more sanitary because it cuts down on coming into contact with restroom surfaces that can harbor germs and is engineered to keep water from splashing or blowing outside the basin. Our latest iteration of this touch-free hand-washing system is our WashBar technology.

“Our customers are also looking for sustainable materials, which is a double bonus, because our sustainable materials used for wash basins — Terreon Solid Surface and Evero Natural Quartz — are also extremely durable. In fact, both Terreon and Evero are available with recycled contents. These sustainable materials also have long life cycles,” Alderson said.

“Innovations in product technology are constantly improving functionality and product performance,” said Bob Burns is the Senior Product Manager, Bath, Moen. “Hands-free faucets offer the benefit of not touching the fixture, which can help reduce germ transmission and save water. Since the faucets turn on only when hands are placed beneath the faucet, and turn off when no longer in use, there is potential for up to 70 percent water savings when compared to manual lavatory faucets. Plus, not touching the faucet helps reduce germ transmission, which is especially important to all users of commercial settings, keeping the faucet cleaner longer. Hands-free models of soap dispensers offer more hygienic options, while also offering ease of use for all users by eliminating the need to push down on the soap dispenser pump.

“Electronic flush valves also offer a sanitary option, nearly eliminating the need to touch a toilet surface and reduce the chances for product damage since manual flush valve handles are often activated by a user’s foot leading to leaks and malfunction,” Burns said.


“Sensor-activated flushometers continue to grow in popularity,” said Mike Gipson, Sloan product manager of flushometers. “As a hands-free way to flush toilets and urinals, these products are certainly a more sanitary and user-friendly approach. With a variety of high-efficiency flush volumes, including dual flush capability, water conservation is also achieved with sensor-activated flushometers.

“As battery-operated and sensor-activated flushometers become more popular, the maintenance requirements of changing batteries has increased. Technology that helps extend battery life is desired and appreciated. For example, Sloan’s popular G2 model now delivers six years of battery life with ordinary alkaline batteries, and its SOLIS solar-powered flushometer extends battery life even further by harnessing the power from indoor lighting in the restroom,” Gipson said.

Retrofits are a great way to upgrade from manual to sensor flushometers without replacing the fixture or the entire valve. Sloan has a variety of easy-to-install top mount and side mount retrofits that convert manual flushometers to sensor-activated.

“Behind the wall installation is being driven by architects and designers who prefer the cleaner look of just a wall plate in front of the wall, with the rest of the valve behind the wall. Sloan’s new CX Flushometer provides easy installation and the ability to service the valve from the front of the wall, eliminating the need for a rear access plumbing chase,” Gipson said.

Ben Fix, senior director of showers product management, LIXIL Americas (American Standard, GROHE and DXV), said one example of new technology that targets behind the wall installation in facilities with showers, such as schools and hotels, is the company’s Flash pressure balance valve.

“Flash provides a variety of pipe connection options with a compact size and design that makes installation quicker and easier in different construction situations. The valve body includes a test cap to speed up testing and flushing lines, and it also features an exclusive stub-out connection, which is the first to work with press-connect fittings without additional solder or piping. Another Flash time-saving exclusive is the PEX elbow connection. The valve body rotates 180 degrees, enabling PEX connections from either floor or ceiling supply lines, with no need for additional elbows,” Fix said.

Chicago Faucets Nortier noted, “The challenge for the contractor isn’t really any different than in front of the wall; each type of installation requires his expertise to solve the problems at hand. The main challenge is training on the installation, maintenance and benefits of behind the wall systems as well as proving the reliability once installed.

“We strive to put products into the hands of our contractors that exceed expectations. The last thing any contractor wants is a callback, and one of the reputation points of a Chicago Faucet is its durability and ability to perform in extreme environments,” Nortier said.


“Products that can reduce costs without sacrificing the user experience are always in demand,” said Walsh. American Standard’s newest commercial products incorporate innovative technologies that streamline installation and regular maintenance, saving on labor costs and time. Products that carry the WaterSense label, indicating they offer water savings as well as reliable performance, also remain a trend for the cost savings they provide.”

Walsh said that Environmental Product Declarations, or EPDs, are increasing in demand among specifiers and facility managers who seek sustainable sourcing and performance for their buildings. “These documents examine the company’s environmental activities and certifications, offer useful product specifications, and provide detail on the environmental impact of the manufacturing, shipping, installation, and use of the product.”

“Chicago Faucets continually researches facility managers, contractors, engineers and other stakeholders in the building chain of command,” Nortier said. “One of the distinct trends we see across the board is staffing: people just don’t have the manpower to maintain the facility properly. One facility manager joked, with a hint of frustration, to me about maintenance that has been on his five-year deferred maintenance plan — for almost ten years. This puts the burden on the devices to help improve professionals productivity.

“That means emphasizing information and ease-of-use. More and more we see our website as one of the key integrations for our information. We have made it easy in the past to get what they want, and we are working to make it even easier. Our rep force, as well, plays an integral role in keeping the contractors and facility managers involved and informed. When a facility manager knows he only has to contact one of our reps to take care of an unexpected issue, and that it actually is taken care of, well, it separates us from others in the market and brings us closer to these customers, which is where we want to be.”


American Standard VorMax Technology

American Standard’s newest product brings the popular VorMax flushing platform to commercial settings for the first time. Engineered to deliver superior performance compared to conventional pressure-assist toilets, the new Glenwall VorMax toilet is offered in a back outlet, wall-hung configuration.

VorMax technology has been independently verified to clean the bowl two times better than conventional toilets, delivering one powerful jet of water that scrubs the entire bowl completely clean with half the noise of a pressure-assist toilet.

The Glenwall VorMax high-efficiency toilet (HET) meets all applicable drain line carry requirements and achieves the highest bulk removal score on the Maximum Performance (MaP) test, successfully flushing 1,000 grams (2.2 pounds) of waste with only 1.28 gpf. It has earned WaterSense certification for providing high performance while using 20 percent less water than traditional 1.6 gpf toilets.

Chicago Faucets TempShield and Long Term Power System

Recently launched products from Chicago Faucets include the 420-T and 410-T Series manual faucets with TempShield, built-in ASSE1070-compliant scald protection that eliminates the need for a separate thermostatic valve, provide an all-in-one solution for commercial restroom applications. The exclusive TempShield integrated thermostatic control element helps prevent scalding and delivers water at a comfortable temperature. It features solid brass, chrome-plated faucet bodies and water-saving flow rates from 0.35 to 1.5 gpm, including vandal-resistant outlet options.

“Now there’s no need to install a separate thermostatic mixing valve below the sink. With the 420-T and 410-T everything you need to meet current building codes and help protect users against scalding is built right into the faucet,” Nortier said.

Also new from Chicago Faucets is the Long Term Power System (LTPS). The LTPS is a new way to power its high-performance electronic faucets and is designed to provide maintenance-free power for up to 15 years under normal commercial use. The LTPS requires no additional wiring, no need for an electrician, and no periodic battery replacement. The power pack is simply mounted under the counter and plugged into the faucet.

The LTPS is available with hands-free electronic faucets from all three popular Chicago Faucets lines: EQ, HyTronic, and E-Tronic 40. Chicago Faucets currently offers over 150 touch-free faucets powered by the new Long Term Power System.

“The challenge was to design it to meet true usage levels in commercial settings without having to change batteries. The self-contained system is designed for easy installation as a cost-effective alternative to AC power. A self-discharge rate of just 1 percent per year helps extend system life,” Nortier said.

The 404 Series manual faucet underbody has been improved for easy, one-person installation. Additionally, the spout has undergone a makeover itself and we added a new taller spout option. These spouts offer attention to detail: a new knob rest covers the unsightly rod hole and engineering improvements were made to the supply tee collection.

Moen M•Power

Moen Commercial’s new collection offers sleek new designs with advanced sensor technology, and robust construction to stand up to the most challenging commercial and institutional environments with ease. The redesigned products are easy to install, use and maintain for a longer life with lower lifetime costs. The collection features flush valves, faucets and soap dispensers.

“M•Power sensor-operated faucets and flush valves offer an extended eight-year battery life using standard AA batteries — this is almost three times longer than competitive products in the market that use similar technology. The extended battery life allows facilities to reduce the labor costs associated with changing batteries frequently,” Burns said.

The improved sensor functionality of M•Power also features a field-enabled sentinel flow option, which eliminates stagnant water in the supply lines every 24 hours after the last use. The metering flow time, available on lavatory faucets, offers sustainability benefits as it can be adjusted to fit any market — from a minimum of 10 seconds for an educational environment, up to a maximum of three minutes for healthcare environments where code requires timed hand-washing.

M•Power sensor-operated flush valves also feature Moen’s proprietary AccuSet piston technology, which requires virtually no maintenance or replacement parts for the life of the flush valve. It features a self-cleaning filter which protects the piston seal against debris build-up and damage, allowing it to fully function even if the filter is up to 90 percent clogged. For added convenience the flush valve’s internal components can also be accessed from the front should it be installed underneath a grab bar.

Sloan CX Flushometer

Sloan’s most recent flushometer introduction is its CX Flushometer, a concealed flushometer with the industry’s smallest front access wall plate, nearly 70 percent smaller than the industry standard. It appeals to architects, designers, building owners, engineers, contractors and facility managers alike with a vandal-resistant build and striking aesthetics. The CX is easy to install and easy to service from in front of the wall, eliminating the need for a rear access plumbing chase.

The CX Flushometer generates 60 percent more space without the requirement of a rear access plumbing chase and its efficient 1.6 or 1.28 gpf for water closets and 0.5, 0.25 or 0.125 gpf for urinals is a sustainable product that will contribute to annual water savings.

Featuring an integrated control stop and adjustable flush connection with an all-vertical, in-line rough-in, the CX Flushometer streamlines the installation process, allowing the installer to easily bring the plumbing to the valve. Routine maintenance can take place conveniently in front of the wall, instead of the tedious repairs typically associated with navigating the narrow, congested plumbing chases.

The CX Flushometer’s concealed, clean valve and body design is ideal for both new construction and renovation to existing plumbing systems.

Bradley Corp. WashBar

The all-in-one WashBar is comprised of a single piece of chrome-plated stainless steel, which houses “smart” touch-free soap, water and dryer. With LED lighting and easy-to-identify icons, the WashBar visually engages and guides the user through hand-washing for an accessible, user-friendly experience. Keeping soap, water and dryer in close reach, the WashBar requires minimal user movement. The dryer and bowl work in tandem to minimize water splashes so water stays in the basin, not on the floor, user or walls.

Its touch-free and maintenance-friendly design eliminates the need for paper towels, along with frequent waste bin emptying, soap dispenser refilling and wet floor mopping. Its adjustable-speed hand dryer is 96 percent less expensive than paper towels. The faucet may be specified as 0.5 or water-saving 0.38 gpm.

The materials used in Bradley’s hand washing systems enhance hygiene, maintenance and efficiency. Bradley manufactures two surface materials for hand washing fixtures — Terreon solid surface and Evero Natural Quartz. Both are durable, sustainable, non-porous materials that are easy to clean and maintain. For more sustainable applications, solid surface is available with post-consumer recycled material — TerreonRE. Both Terreon and TerreonRE are GREENGUARD-certified. Evero natural quartz is also GREENGUARD-certified.