Future restrooms: touchless, tankless, with advertising

As a manufacturer of restroom fixtures for nearly 20 years, Klaus Reichardt, president of Waterless Co. Inc. has become familiar with the latest trends in restroom design.

VISTA, CALIF. — As a manufacturer of restroom fixtures for nearly 20 years, Klaus Reichardt, president of Waterless Co. Inc. has become familiar with the latest trends in restroom design. Because of the economy, most of the trends he notes are occurring in existing buildings, “and most are occurring in larger facilities, like airports, shopping centers, major office structures, and the like,” Reichardt said.

So, what’s on tap for restrooms in the future?

According to Reichardt, the following developments are evolving now and will become more common in years to come:

• More mirrors. Additional “sight-line” mirrors will be installed, helping to increase security.
• Labyrinth entries. Not only are these installed to eliminate the touching of doors, but studies also indicate they promote security.
• Sound dampening. Restrooms will be quieter with more sound dampening materials installed in ceilings.
• Outward swings. Partition doors are now being designed to swing outward. This allows users to open the door with their shoulders and avoid touching handles.
• Water conservation. More restroom fixtures will be installed that surpass Federal water conservation regulations or use no water at all, such as waterless urinals.
• Automated touch-less. Devices that automatically dispense soap, paper, water, etc. will become standard.
• On-demand hot water. More restrooms will have their own on-demand hot water system and not depend on a facility’s hot water source, helping to save energy.
• Delayed flushing. Currently, some automatic restroom fixtures flush too quickly after use. The spray generated can soil the user and clothing. New flushing systems will have a delay to help avoid this.

“We are also likely to see advertising in restrooms,” said Reichardt. “Just as many grocery stores have monitors displaying advertisements, many advertisers see restrooms as a new ‘marketing territory’ just waiting to be tapped.”

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