How Can Hospital Sanitary Facilities Be Made Water Efficient? And How Will It Benefit The Client?

Q: How can hospital sanitary facilities be made water efficient? And how will it benefit the client?

A: By selecting water saving products that comply with HTM 64 and designing within relevant BREEAM guidelines where possible.

A typical hospital will use 1,460 litres of water each year for every square meter of floor space1. Almost 55% of water used within a hospital will be used in sanitary facilities2. Saving water therefore makes good sense for both environmental and financial reasons.

HTM 64 is prescriptive in the product choices available within clinical patient and medical areas, limiting the specifier to 'hospital pattern' products. However within these limits the designer is able to influence water usage by attention to peripheral issues such as water pressure rates, supply management and temperature control. By contrast the 'general pattern' areas within HTM 64 provide more latitude for the designer as they relate to staff and visitor areas; traditional washrooms rather than medical rooms.

All hospital sanitary facilities, whether clinical or public, have the potential to save money and natural resources by sound product specification and building management.

Water saving

The Environment Agency estimates that most buildings in the UK can easily reduce water consumption, and their water bills, by around 40%. For a hospital this is obviously a massive benefit, and one that can be realised without compromising hygiene, infection control or patient care.

Taps

Almost 25% of all the water used in a typical hospital washroom comes out of taps and mixers3. A tap with a flow of 12 litres per minute which is used a 100 times a day for 20 seconds each time will use close to 400 litres of water each day. By specifying a tap with a flow rate regulator the Environment Agency has measured up to an 80% reduction in this figure. Alternatively, electronic sensor taps or timed shut-off push taps may be used to reduce water use by 15% and prevent wastage due to taps left running by careless users. These products are particularly suitable in hospitals where an attitude of 'I'm not paying the water bill so why do I care?' may be prevalent.

Urinals

The installation of urinals instead of WCs in male washrooms will immediately save water compared with the same number of WCs. Despite this, urinals still account for over 10% of water usage in most hospital sanitary facilities. Recent developments in waterless urinal technology can reduce this figure to virtually zero - a urinal that does not flush simply does not use water! Current Water Supply (Fittings) regulations 1999 call for a flush control device to be used that stops traditional urinals flushing when the washroom has not been used for a prescribed time. Each urinal in an uncontrolled washroom will use 900 litres of water per day. A flush management device, when installed and maintained properly can reduce the volume of water used by 74%. HTM 64 is available at MyTub Ltd.