Smart Solutions for Restrooms can boost Water Security
Published by : Industrial Automation
Restrooms are water-guzzlers, especially at airports and railway stations. Anup Kumar Tripathi prescribes some solutions to use water judiciously in high-traffic restrooms and other areas.
As many regions across India continue facing water crises every year, the importance of water- saving systems becomes more apparent. To ensure efficient use of water, it is important to pinpoint where the degree of water wastage is higher. Globally, many studies show that most water is wasted in washrooms, restrooms and toilets. It’s important to note that airports and railways stations worldwide cater to tremendous passenger traffic, 365 days of the year. The situation is no different in India where high passenger volumes lead to greater water wastage in washrooms at airports and railway stations daily. Against this backdrop, one needs to make sure that water fixtures and plumbing connections are the best in water efficiency.
Planning for Peak Capacity
For any airport’s plumbing systems to work efficiently, these must be built for handling peak passenger volumes. According to the Airports Authority of India, Delhi’s IGI Airport handled almost 70 million passengers in 2018-2019. Considering the high traffic volume, its faucets, sinks and plumbing systems should be robust enough to handle the high load month after month, year after year. Hands-free toilets and low-flow plumbing solutions should be mandatory at all airport restrooms. Given the regular or nonstop passenger flow, water efficiency and durability are essential for transit restrooms. Typical components in office building restrooms can last for almost 10 to 15 years. But the same components in high-traffic airport restrooms barely last between two and five years.
In such scenarios, water-saving flush valves are critical. The automatic single-flush technology with lowers flush volume for liquid and solid waste, reducing water usage by up to 30%. Sink areas and sanitation can go hand-in-hand via innovative solutions and fixture upgrades. In this way, water can be kept off the floor while sticky soap and water splashes on countertops can be avoided too. Moreover, such solutions prevent long lines of users from forming. For instance, an integrated sink system can combine the sink basin, dryer, touch-free soap dispenser and a sensor faucet into an all-in-one solution so travellers can wash their hands quickly without moving their feet. Similarly, there are low-flow faucets. Pairing sustainable, low-flow flush valves with touch-free technology can boost efficiency requirements.
Solutions in Other Zones
That is, however, just one aspect. For nationwide water savings, a more comprehensive approach is needed. Presently, India’s yearly water use is around 7,610 billion cubic metres. Like airports, in households too, major water usage occurs while flushing toilets, followed by showers and bathing. It is no surprise then that in India and globally, water consumption has doubled within two decades. Be it office buildings, hospitals, hotels, motels and schools, all remain prone to wasteful use of water. To elaborate, where schools are concerned, 45% usage is in restrooms, 25% in landscaping, 20% in heating/cooling and 10% in kitchens/pantries. For office buildings, restroom/domestic use accounts for 40%, heating/cooling is 28% and landscaping 22%. For hotels, guestroom use is 30%, kitchen 25%, laundry 20%, heating/cooling 15% and landscaping 10%. At 40%, the highest restroom/domestic usage of water is done by hospitals. In the same way, toilets comprise 26.70% of residential indoor water usage with washing clothes following at 21.70%.
In addressing this situation, smart technology can be extremely useful in saving water at the point of maximum consumption: toilets/restrooms/washrooms. To be truly successful, such solutions should be sustainable by supporting water conservation as well as lowering carbon footprints. Sustainable restroom solutions can be availed through smart plumbing systems. Since rural families in developing countries survive on less than 11 litres of water each day, water-efficient plumbing becomes more significant. Contrast this situation with people in urban areas who regularly flush almost the same quantity during each visit to their toilet. Urban families should shift to sensor-based flush tanks from manual sensors to enhance efficient water usage.
A series of water-efficient flush valves are available today that use minimum 20% less water, unlike conventional systems, with a consistent flush volume in variety of low & high pressure environments. Such flush valves work with Reclaimed Water and save huge amount of fresh water. Taking things one level ahead, there are sensor-based urinals, saving 88% more water compared to manual ones. Next, water-free urinals offer 100% water savings while minimising repair and maintenance costs. Then there are hybrid urinals, which eliminate the water flush through an automatic drain-line purge integration. A wonderful water-saving means is the automatic-sensor faucet that also enhances restroom hygiene and aesthetics while saving almost 60% water. Battery- or solar-powered faucets are another choice, with up to 40% water savings. Even better are the sink-integrated faucets with adjustable flow rates that save up to 67% water. Or consider showerheads; automatic versions reduce water usage by up to 20%.
In one way or the other, various water-saving plumbing solutions minimise water wastage in the restrooms of high-traffic areas or residential zones, taking the nation closer to water security.
Anup Kumar Tripathi, Country Head, Sloan India Private Limited, is a seasoned professional with a career spanning over two decades in the building materials industry. Anup joined Sloan Valve Company in January 2015 as the Country Head for Indian Subcontinent business. Before joining Sloan, he was the General Manager – Sales at Tropical Industries International. He has also worked with Hindware and Jaquar and Co. Besides, he has played an instrumental role in helping a few global brands like Hansgrohe, Teuco & Keramag to enter into the India market. A multilingual, Anup speaks five languages – English, Hindi, Sanskrit, Urdu and Italian. He is an alumnus of Agra University and Poorvanchal University with degrees in Mechanical Engineering and Business Management respectively. Apart from work, Anup is a jovial person by nature and a supportive team leader. In his free time, he loves travelling and also enjoy writing, reading and listening to music.