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Smart Buildings – How Washrooms Became Smarter

24 February 2022

Smart buildings are on the rise, and facilities management teams have learnt from their success and adapted the benefits for the washroom

What is a smart building?

Smart buildings are popping up everywhere – and that’s a good thing. Designed to be as economical and efficient as possible for their owners, they also make life easier and more comfortable for the occupants.

Smart buildings use technology to achieve these benefits, and here in the Middle East, developers are implementing the very latest cutting-edge tech to optimize performance. From built-in technology to retrofit additions, smart systems can relay data on almost anything in real time. Artificial Intelligence, building management systems, and the Internet of Things (IOT) are just a few of the futuristic mechanisms that can allow building owners to improve efficiencies, save money, and reduce their environmental footprint.  

A sustainable solution

The sustainability factor of a smart building is hard to ignore. With core systems being linked, the technology allows them to talk to one another, sharing information on things like heating, air conditioning and ventilation. Building managers can then control and improve energy usage, cut consumption, and save money. This in turn ensures the most comfortable living and working environment for the occupants.

Let’s take a building’s lighting system as an example. A smart lighting system, controlled by IoT and monitored via sensors throughout the building, ensures lights are only on when and where needed. It also makes sure that they are set to the correct level, depending on the time of day. This not only reduces energy bills but ensures the correct luminosity and creates an ambient environment for the occupant. Smart elevators in high-rise buildings are another great example. They can be programmed to change their route to match demand, reducing operation costs and making life easier for occupants who no longer have to wait in line during the lunchtime rush.

Washrooms can be Smart too

Almost every aspect of a building can benefit from being Smart – the washroom included. Although traditionally not considered to be at the forefront of intelligent tech, washrooms can actually be Smart in every possible sense of the word. Smart Washroom’s offer all the benefits that other areas of a smart building can, but because they play such a big part in delivering overall user experience, they are perhaps the area where the biggest improvements can be demonstrated. One example is the use of cubicle occupancy sensors. Only recently introduced to the region, products such as VERTECO’s LooLights™ system work in a similar way to the lights found in large car parks. The simple ‘red for stop, green for go’ (and blue for people of determination) lights outside each cubicle, which can be easily retrofit into any space, shows customers which spaces are free, helping to ease congestion in busy washrooms and allowing people to maintain social distancing. The data the occupancy systems collects can also be displayed outside the washroom, directing customers to other facilities if necessary, making it invaluable in busy buildings such as malls and airports, and preventing overcrowding in high footfall environments. The data collected can then be easily analyzed by facilities teams on handheld devices, allowing operational changes to be quickly made to improve efficiencies. Cleaning frequency and patterns can be adapted and made more effective and cost-efficient, achieving the best possible hygiene levels, and boosting user experience.

Return to work experience

As people return to the office post-COVID, providing a healthy work environment, particularly in shared spaces like washrooms, is paramount. Real time data that Smart Washrooms can provide on occupancy and usage allows companies to ensure the safest environments possible. By being able to monitor everything from air quality, lighting, security and sanitation, businesses can ensure they are providing the best possible facilities for their staff’s peace of mind – no doubt boosting their productivity in the process! And because all these elements can be connected to a Smart Building’s management system, facilities management teams can do everything from turning off lights when needed, reducing the AC when the outside temperature drops, and even detecting dripping taps the minute they start to leak, providing environmental and cost savings at the same time.

Time to switch to Smart Washoom Technology

Smart buildings have been around for a while now, and the multitude of benefits are clear. Implementing a Smart Washroom, either from the early design phase or with the addition of retrofit products, will offer both owners and occupiers a much better, more efficient overall experience.

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