Designing a space requires going through a complex myriad of issues and key steps, and in today’s growing green agenda, benchmarking systems and checklists-such as LEED– are designed to assist in the promotion of healthy environments.
Sustainable design is a global trend that takes into consideration the combination of renewable and recycled materials with water and energy conserving building systems to create healthier indoor environments for the occupants.
Among the perks of environmental stewardship are: lower operating costs, additional governmental funding sources and the increase of tenants’ well-being which can lead to a boost in employees’ productivity. Plus, in some places, local government and municipalities offer the opportunity to upgrade to the latest technology for little to no cost. For example, here, at Falcon, we offer FREE turnkey water rebate services in the Southern California area, where you can get our waterfree or hybrid urinals without dealing with the tricky process.
With around 1.85 million square feet being certified daily, LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is the most popular benchmarking system in the United States. Established by the U.S Green Building Council, the certification seeks to inspire teams to find innovative solutions and achieve maximum points in a project.
To earn enough points, projects should address sustainability across five categories, four of these guidelines are relevant to interior designers and business owners when designing a LEED compliant restroom:
Don’t flush your money, energy and water down the drain! One of the simplest ways to achieve sustainability is to take advantage of the water-energy nexus. You can reduce water demand by using low-flow, dual-flush or composting toilets, low-flow faucets and waterfree or hybrid urinals.
Recycled water for toilet flushing is another efficient and sustainable way to save thousands of gallons of water a year, too. But, be careful! Reclaimed water can contain high concentrations of chemicals that can severely damage plumbing systems, potentially leading to increased maintenance requirements.
To comply with energy codes and control requirements, commercial restrooms of single or multiple stalls can reduce the electrical demand with the use of dimmers, occupancy sensor controls and energy star-rated appliances or those with equivalent high performance standards.
Daylight provides many aesthetic and health benefits, including users’ comfort and mental and visual stimulation, plus the use of natural light can provide major energy savings!
Materials and Resources
When supporting a green agenda, designers and business owners should be conscious of local economies of labor and supplies. Sustainability guidelines encourage the use renewable sources such as harvested woods (certified by the Forest Stewardship Council, or FSC), recycled materials for stalls/partitions and titles or glass and reclaimed goods.
Indoor Air Quality
Volatile Organic Compounds, or VOCs are common toxic chemicals from common building products, which can include both human-made and naturally occurring chemical scents or odors. Paint, sealants, solvents, particleboard (used for furniture and cabinets), adhesives and urethane (used as a wood floor finish) are common sources of VOCs.
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