Guest Column - March 2006
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Green Rooms

Locker Rooms and Restrooms

By Ryan Pfund


Here are some other steps you can take to upgrade your restrooms and locker rooms, make them more appealing to visitors and save money in the long run:

REPLACE OUTDATED SINKS, FAUCETS AND TOILETS

To save water and update the look of your facility, replace old sinks, toilets and urinals in restrooms and locker rooms with more efficient models. Removing stained or cracked china lavs and replacing them with solid-surface lavatory systems can not only make restrooms more attractive, they also will be more functional. Because lavatory systems require fewer connections and rough-ins, you will save on installation labor costs and can afford to invest in a higher quality product.

Lavatory systems have other features that save money and keep restrooms tidier, such as built-in soap dispensers that drip right into the bowl and infrared sensors that shut off water flow after use.

If the budget only allows for replacing faucets, look for new fixtures with capacitive sensing technology. Capacitive sensing eliminates many of the frustrations commonly found with infrared-controlled faucets. This new technology creates an omni-directional detection zone that surrounds the entire spout of a faucet, rather than a small sensor window for greater ease-of-use.

ASSESS SHOWER SOLUTIONS

Improving shower areas is sure to please patrons. To curb water usage, specify low-flow showerheads that use 2 gpm, rather than those that use 3 gpm or more. For additional savings, install showers with metering valves. Electronic metering valves are extremely reliable and can be set with a longer running time to eliminate flow interruption after 15 seconds.

When memberships are important to maintain business, it is vital that showers offer a clean and appealing finish to invite visitors to use the facilities. Solid-surface shower pans offer an attractive alternative to tile and will be easier to clean and maintain. Stainless-steel showers and shower accessories provide a crisp, clean look in the shower room. Selecting the perfect shower water temperature is a feature that users at high-end facilities expect. It is easy, and safe, to do with pressure balancing or thermostatic shower valves.

New shower fixtures with the latest pressure-balancing valves that incorporate long-lasting European ceramic cartridge technology can help reduce maintenance. These long-lasting cartridges have no wearing parts that will need to be replaced, and the valves allow for back-to-back wall installation, saving on installation and construction costs.

UPDATE LOCKERS

Rusted-out lockers with multiple layers of chipping paint obviously do not create an aesthetically pleasing locker room. If that describes your facility's locker room, give it a face-lift by replacing metal lockers with attractive, new, solid plastic lockers. They never require painting, and they will not rust or deteriorate in moist locker room environments. Even better, plastic lockers are available in a range of bright or neutral color options.

Although plastic lockers have a higher initial cost, over the long run they can be much more cost-effective than metal because of their low maintenance.

In a hotly competitive market, managers of recreation facilities must continually review the factors that members and visitors weigh in deciding which club to join or which facility to use. In addition to selling points such as your sports equipment, water features, admission or membership fees, do not overlook the appearance and amenities of your restrooms and locker rooms. The atmosphere they provide is increasingly important to consumers choosing among competing facilities.



ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ryan Pfund is the shower and thermostatic mixing valve product manager at Bradley Corporation. For more information, visit www.bradleycorp.com.