I was at the airport this morning and made my routine stop at the ladies’ room before boarding my flight. As I wheeled my bag into the stall with me, the toilet flushed. As I sat down, it flushed again. When I stood up, it flushed for a third time (this one was appreciated).

I walked over to the sink to wash my hands. The automatic faucet turned and for me. Great. However, I noticed that it remained on as I moved away to use the automatic paper towel dispenser to dry my hands. I noted that it was still on, blasting water at full force, as I left the bathroom.

All of this got me thinking – do automatic toilets and sinks actually save water as intended? Surely the ones in this particular bathroom at Denver International Airport were not.

This led me to do a little research to find out some stats. Turns out there is some conflicting information online, but it seems that the more recent studies indicated these devices do save water.

It sounds like the problems I encountered at the airport could have been due to older models not being set up or maintained property.

So, if you are thinking of installing automatic devices in your buildings (ideal for common area spaces), the keys to actually getting the water savings you intend to get are:
• Proper training for the maintenance / service teams that will be installing and servicing the devices (so important!!)
• Ensuring proper installation, settings, and maintenance
• Using products including the WaterSense label

Excellent advice anytime we introduce a new technology into our buildings and expect a human to maintain it.

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