With Corning and Painted Post Area School Districts in New York combining to form one district high school and middle school’s population— doubling the student population of the high school and adding almost 30% to the middle school — the school district’s restrooms needed an upgrade.

With restrooms that had been untouched since the late 1990s, Hunt Engineers, Architects & Land Surveyors, P.C., the design firm behind the Corning-Painted Post Central School District renovation project, needed products that would lend themselves to such a large, yet seamless, retrofit.

For a contemporary look and feel, modern water closets, urinals, and sinks were refurbished throughout the building. To provide a more hygienic, convenient restroom equipped with retrofit automatic flushometers, it was important that Hunt convinced facility owners to retrofit restrooms equipped with parts more than 20 years old.

“The buildings were last updated right before sensor-operated equipment became popular,” said Greg Barr, a professional engineer and principal and director of ME/P at Hunt. “At first, the building owner didn’t see the value in automation. They had the Sloan Regal manual flushometers installed in other buildings for years. We showed the client the history of reliability they had with Sloan sensor products. Thanks to these updates, the owner is satisfied with the high-quality, reliable, and easy-to-maintain products and the new touchless environment.”


Improving performance, technology

Manufacturers have been looking at ways to make proactive updates to flushometers easier and less costly for contractors and building owners. Retrofit kits for flushometers offer a way for contractors to maximize value for many prevalent products on the market.

Retrofits are growing in popularity in the commercial restroom area. A high-tech, hands-free restroom is becoming more popular, reflecting the increasing standards for the modern commercial restroom regarding hygiene, convenience, aesthetics, and water conservation.

Faced with restrooms that had not been updated in more than 20 years, the Corning-Painted Post Central School District chose to join the growing movement of building owners electing to retrofit their facilities. The school district purchased retrofitted flushometer kits to update from manual to battery-operated flushometers.

A true flushometer is designed to accurately and reliably control the flush volume and provide a water-efficient solution that meets the demands of commercial restrooms in global applications.

It is the use of the pressurized water supply that gives a flushometer a performance advantage over a tank toilet in commercial applications. In a tank toilet, the water used for the flush is first accumulated in the tank. The water flows by gravity into the fixture when the tank toilet is flushed, as the energy behind the flush is created by the weight of the water in the tank. Because flushometers rely on the pressure and flow from the supply piping, more energy is behind the flush, which is important in a commercial application and vital to using water efficiently and effectively.


Elementary installation, advanced sustainability

Hunt also installed turbine-powered, automatic-sensor faucets in the schools, which Hunt mechanical designer Nick Shaban said “added to the unique look, in addition to hygienic and water conserving benefits.”

The product provides stainless steel wetted components along with an integral water supply shutoff for a sleek look and better water control that building owners appreciate. It also can be configured to add a solar and LCD display.

With a simple installation process, the faucet has the strength and versatility to meet the needs of any application or environment. Power options include hardwired battery with solar and battery with turbine, which delivers optimized performance, even at a flow rate of 0.5 gpm.

With approximately 4,800 students in grades K through 12, the school district needed sinks allowing multiperson use. As a result, a pair of Sloan two-station Designer Series Gradient sinks were installed side-by-side at Corning Painted Post High School.

Contractors appreciated features such as easy installation and integration with the sensor-activated faucets and soap dispensers. The water-efficient stations were then specified in bid documents for use at the elementary school.

It may be one of the first places occupants see in a commercial building but one of the last places they expect to see new technology. Yet, with the pair of sinks installed in the first restrooms near the school entrance, not only is a visual and welcoming statement being made, but a statement of sustainability as well. Electronic sensing technologies enable touchless activation to make turning a faucet handle a thing of the past, thereby reducing the spread of disease-causing bacteria and improving overall restroom cleanliness.


This article was originally titled “Out with the old” in the November 2016 print edition of Plumbing & Mechanical.