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Energy


restocking consumables and giving the room a general check over. The worst task is cleaning urinals, toilets and sanitising toilet seats. Dirty, blocked or smelly toilets are just not acceptable, but if users leave toilets in a bad state (which they do), returning them to pristine condition remains the responsibility of the cleaning staff – unless of course someone invents a toilet that self-cleans!


Washroom hygiene Washroom hygiene is always difficult to maintain and there are some well-known areas that need your attention. Leaving the toilet seat lifted and not closed after use is a major source of bacteria in the washroom environment. Flushing the toilet creates a ‘sneeze effect’, spraying bacteria, viruses and moisture into the surrounding air. These airborne aerosols can travel up to eight feet away from the toilet itself contaminating the surrounding washroom surfaces and getting drawn into ventilation systems to travel around the building. Research by the University of


Westminster shows that hot air dryers collect airborne bacteria from the toilet cubicles and urinals, suck them into the unit, warm them up, multiply them and dump them on your hands. This negates the whole idea of hand washing. So, long live paper towels which the survey shows remove almost all of the remaining bacteria from hands. There is a breed of hand driers that use less energy as they appear to be using air pressure with less emphasis on hot air. Users place their hands vertically into them to dry. I like these but always find that I am standing in a pool of water as that is where the water ends up, with no place for it to run away. Door handles are the third major distributor of bacteria. Frequently, when hot air dryers are installed users will not wash their hands because they don’t want to queue for a dryer – so they leave without washing their hands and transferring a whole range of bacteria onto the door handle. This contaminates the hands of others who have probably dried their hands and unexpectedly pick up germs before eating sandwiches with their hands! The only solution here is to install a hand gel dispensing unit outside the door to sanitise hands on exit.


The green washroom Like every aspect of business and especially cleaning, the focus today is on sustainability and the environment. Paper hand towels get a hammering because paper is supposed to be made from trees – no, today it is from waste paper. It also gets attacked because paper towels create waste – yes they do but they are bio-degradable so that blows out that argument. The most wasteful aspect of the washroom is abuse of that vitally important and expensive commodity – water. Until a water free method of hand washing is created, we will continue to pour billions of litres of water per year down the basin – but we can save some waste with sensor operated taps and continuous maintenance of leaking taps. The other big user of water is the toilet system. Each flush, or two as is often required, uses 9 litres of water on average, and it is not uncommon to find systems constantly filling up due to water scale blockages. There is now an alternative toilet system which uses only 1.5 litres per flush and with assistance from air pressure when you close the lid (which also eliminates the ‘sneeze effect’), the toilet is cleansed in seconds. If you can reduce your water per flush from 9 to 1.5 litres at a shopping centre open 7 days a week you will make phenomenal financial savings. There are a number of good inventions for the washroom including battery- free air fresheners and many more great ideas in the pipeline, but the new product high on my wish list is a self- cleaning urinal that uses less water. Energy conservation is very important as some washrooms have huge usage.I like the washrooms where lights are turned on by body temperature or movement as you enter and are then illuminated for a specific time. Now that there are so many revolutionary energy saving, environmentally friendly washroom products available, it would be good for us all to take a fresh look at all our washroom systems and services. A small investment now, like a change to paper hand towels or low water using toilets, could in a couple of years or even months save your organisation a large amount of money and energy, simultaneously helping our environment. It’s not rocket science – its common sense and all our responsibilities.


The shape of things to come – rimless loos with no place for germs to hide


Further information


Designed and manufactured in the UK with patented POWA™ displaced air technology, the Propelair high-performance toilet produces a powerful, reliable flush using just 1.5 litres of water compared to an average nine. By using 84% less water on average Propelair has the potential to cut commercial water bills by up to 60%, and as a fraction of the energy usually needed for water and waste processing is required, the toilet’s carbon footprint is reduced by an average 80%. Propelair also offers a package of hygiene benefits, reducing the spread of aerosolised germs by 95%. It can easily be installed onto existing drainage systems, so is perfect for retrofits and refurbishments as well as new builds.


FACILITIES 31


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