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4 Reasons Facility Managers Should Embrace Restroom Automation

Aug 27, 2021

Restrooms are small spaces that have a big impact on facilities. Because they are the number one health hazard in a majority of buildings and are, on average, the number two most visited room, contamination from a restroom’s 77,000 bacteria and viruses tends to spread to other areas. Restrooms also have a disproportionately large affect on the perception of building occupants regarding overall cleanliness and prompt the greatest number (50%) of complaints.

Clearly, the importance placed on restrooms by savvy facility managers and the cleaning and maintenance programs they implement is not misplaced. Recently, endeavors to improve restrooms have revolved around automation, with major benefits that warrant consideration for any facilities with restrooms that have not yet been upgraded with automatic, touch-free fixtures.

1. Enhanced Perception of Cleanliness

According to a survey of 2,050 U.S. adults conducted by The Harris Poll earlier this year, restroom automation has the power to seriously improve individuals’ perception of an entire facility’s cleanliness.

  • 59% stated that the presence of touch-free hand hygiene dispensers would boost their overall impression of cleanliness.
  • 60% indicated that inclusion of touch-free paper towel dispensers would enhance their feeling that a facility is clean.
  • 65% agreed that touch-free toilets and faucets would positively impact their opinion of a building’s sanitary practices.

Given responses to a different survey by Bradley Corp., the ramifications of those perceptions shouldn’t be underestimated:

  • 64% of people said they make a conscious decision to choose a business based on cleaner, well-maintained restrooms.
  • 52% stated they’re likely spend more money at a business with a well-maintained restroom.
  • 55% shared that they’d be unlikely to return to a business after a bad restroom experience.

Restrooms with more touchless accessories correlate to a better perception, and a better perception correlates to repeat business and customer loyalty; whether or not a facility manager truly understands this equation can significantly impact the bottom line. This is especially true in a COVID-19 world, where the relationship between cleanliness of environment and personal health and safety continues to be emphasized.

2. Infection Prevention

The notion that restroom automation improves cleanliness is actually rooted in science, as nearly 80% of illness-causing germs are spread by hands. Hands coming into contact with and then transferring germs to the nose, mouth, eyes, or environmental surfaces is particularly concerning in restrooms, given that surfaces within them often function as reservoirs of contamination. Fortunately, increasing the number of touchless fixtures decreases the number of touch points, especially high touch points, by which facility occupants encounter and spread germs, directly reducing the transmission of infection.

Studies also show that individuals wash their hands more often when they feel safe to do so. Because handwashing is the single most effective way to prevent the spread of pathogens (see Why Skin Cleansers Are Effective Against Viruses), it is important to foster feelings of safety and encourage compliance through touch-free soap and sanitizer dispensers, faucets, and paper towel dispensers. In fact, 30% more people will wash their hands if touch-free products are provided.

Soap and sanitizers should also be free from contamination, which is best achieved through a sealed system (for more information on bulk soap dispenser contamination, click here). Otherwise, not only will visitors to the restroom be less likely to wash their hands, but also those who do wash their hands with contaminated soap will experience an increase in bacteria on the skin.

Increase handwashing compliance with annual savings of up to 60%!

The Clario® Touch-Free Dispensing System from Betco® stretches hand care budgets without sacrificing the safest, cleanest space possible.

  • The pump is built in to the dispenser and not allocated in the cost of each refill
  • Sanitary, factory-sealed refill bags eliminate cross contamination
  • Precise portion control for cost-effective dispensing (see #3 below)
  • Industry-leading 98% “no-waste” evacuation for more usable product per bag
  • Product formulations with EcoLogo, FDA, and NSF certifications
  • Twice the battery life of the leading brand
  • Durable ABS construction and 2-year warranty for customer peace of mind

3. Greater Cost Savings

Automation allows facility managers to decrease waste and associated cost through exact proportioning. Because touch-free fixtures are programmed to dispense a certain amount of product or water at one time, the result is often a reduction in the amount used.

  • Automatic hand hygiene dispensers prevent the reflexive double or even triple pump common among users of manual dispensers by dispensing the exact right amount of soap or sanitizer needed. Use of foaming products instead of lotion soap or gel sanitizer further compounds savings, as foam lasts twice as long.
  • Touchless paper towel dispensers allow users one sheet at a time. This eliminates the option to unnecessarily grab handfuls of paper towels, which are almost as likely to end up on the countertop or floor as in the trash.
  • The average person uses over a quart of water when washing their hands for the recommended 20 seconds with a standard faucet, but touch-free faucets reduce water waste by turning flow off during handwashing steps that don’t require running water, like lathering. Many automatic faucets feature low flow aeration to further lessen the amount of water discharged. Plus, they prevent restroom users from leaving the faucet running.
  • Touch-free toilets and urinals also decrease water usage by thwarting multiple flushes in a short period of time and those who hold manual handles down longer than necessary in a (misguided) attempt to increase flushing power. Some automatic urinal flush valves can also be programmed to flush once in a specific period of time. 

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Typical commercial faucets are supplied with flow rates of 1.5–2.2 gallons per minute (gpm). Our Low Flow Faucet Aerator converts them to 0.5gpm.

  • Reduces both water usage and energy costs required to heat water
  • Installs in minutes
  • Fits most standard faucets

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Betco’s SmartValve® Auto turns nearly any urinal into a water-conserving urinal!

  • Set to flush every 2, 4, 6, or 8 hours for a cost-effective alternative to more consistent flushing
  • Earn LEED and BOMA 360 points
  • Easy installation
  • Couple with SmartSCREEN® to combat odor and scale buildup

4. Increased Efficiency

Automated fixtures not only make a restroom more efficient for those who are actually using it, they also increase efficiency for cleaning and maintenance teams, many of which are already stretched thin by new cleaning and disinfection protocols spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic. Exactly how touch-free accessories allow facility managers and their staff to “do more with less” is implicit in #1–3 above.

  • Restrooms that are perceived as clean and well-maintained are more likely to be respected and kept that way by those who use them.
  • Fewer touch points in a restroom also equal fewer touch points for staff to clean and disinfect.
  • Precise proportioning results in less frequent product outages and less time spent replacing refills.
  • Automation prevents vandalism common in some types of facility. For example, a student in a school restroom would have a more difficult time flooding a restroom with touchless faucets and paper towel dispensers. 

 

Once high-tech, restroom automation is becoming mainstream. With advantages like these, it’s little wonder that the large demand for touch-free hand hygiene dispensers, paper towel dispensers, flush valves, and faucets is expected to grow 37% by 2023. If you’re a facility manager or distributor interested in leveraging Betco’s touchless Clario® dispensers, hand soap, sanitizer, Smart Restroom System, or chemical products to improve restroom experiences, please fill out the online form here

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