HPAC Magazine

Non-residential faucet and fixture market opens the tap on innovation

February 18, 2019 | By Jillian Morgan

The NextGen Selectronic faucet from American Standard (pictured) features an above deck mixing handle and integrated design with electronics in the faucet spout. It offers 0.35- and 0.5-gpm multi-laminar spray, as well as 1.5-gpm laminar flow outlets with adjustable spray face. Four- and 8-inch deck plates are available.

It has to start somewhere.

Pressure to meet evolving regulations and sustainability-focused targets on industrial, commercial and institutional (ICI) projects has paved the way for innovative products that address the unique needs of hotels, healthcare facilities, schools and restaurants.

ICI manufacturers take on a leadership role in the plumbing sector, acting in many ways as a research and development centre for the industry.

Those advancements then trickle down to the residential market, said Tamara Myers, communications chair of the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) mid-Atlantic chapter and founding president of Philadelphia-based Myers Constructs.

“The commercial plumbing fixture industry has had to step up to the plate to create technologies to meet WaterSense requirements, low volume use, and at the same time make a nice looking product,” she added.

Faucets and fixtures in ICI buildings will no longer focus solely on function, instead combining the latest trends in style with tailored technology and attention to energy efficiency.


Delta Faucet electronic flush valves are now available in matte black with a chrome finish for the company’s 81T water closet and urinal models. The 81T series features H2Optics technology and the EZ Adjust system. The valves in this finish are available in three flush volumes: 6 Lpf (adjustable), 4.2 Lpf (fixed) and 4.8 Lpf (fixed). Urinal models are available in 1.9 Lpf (adjustable) and 0.5 Lpf (fixed) flush volumes.

Functional faucets and fixtures that meet the needs of ICI buildings remain a priority, though the move to incorporate aesthetically

pleasing designs represents “an important change in direction,” according to Maria Bosco, director of product marketing for Lixil Canada Inc.

“Designers of commercial spaces are always asking for products that not only serve a specific purpose, they need to flow with the overall design concept of the space,” she added.

Moen’s M-Power hands-free, sensor-operated lavatory faucets offer a field-enabled sentinel flow option to flush standing water in the supply lines. M-Power features an extended eight-year battery life, intended to reduce the need for maintenance, as well as coordinating hands-free soap dispensers. The sensor faucets can also be programmed with a metering flow time from a minimum of 10 seconds.

In the restaurant industry, for example, multiple spray kitchen faucets aim to simplify everyday tasks such as food prep and clean up. Trough sinks have become increasingly popular, too, particularly in hotel restaurants, Myers said.

“[Trough sinks] can be a challenge but I think they’re coming up with various designs that both function well, if you have multiple use, and express a high-level of design and finish,” she added.
Much like luxury residential builds, popular finishes in the ICI market include brass, rose gold and black, Myers said–though it can be a mixed bag.

“We see still a certain amount of just basic chrome in the commercial market,” she added “Chrome is tried and true in terms of finishes.”

There are a select few style trends the market will be leaving behind in 2018–namely oil rubbed bronze fixtures, particularly in Canada, Bosco said.

Sinks with zero radius corners will also be benched, since the product can be difficult to clean, along with four-inch wideset and centreset faucets at more than $150. “People that spend more than $150 will select a one hand mixer or an eight-inch wideset faucet,” Bosco said.

Dual flush toilets that perform at full flush 6.0 Lpf/conserving flush 4.1 Lpf will be “on the decline” thanks to new standards for toilets now set at 4.8 Lpf, she added. Contractors should also expect to see fewer faucets with a mechanical lift rod on the back of the faucet for the drain.


The Grohe Sense and Sense Guard water management system notifies property managers of excess moisture or leaks using a smartphone app. While the Sense smart water sensor is placed near a risk, the Sense Guard (pictured) uses multiple sensors to track water pressure and the flow of water, and measures general water consumption. It automatically turns off the water supply when it detects unusual water activity.

ICI plumbing manufacturers have taken energy-efficiency regulations in stride. Since most major commercial projects have a requirement to meet sustainable targets, the sector has assumed a natural leadership role, Myers said.

The latest advancements in faucet and fixture technology are often focused on reducing the environmental footprint of non-residential buildings.

“Faucets and toilet technology is being developed to provide property managers with alerts on the improper functioning of the fixture and usage,” Bosco said. Sense and Sense Guard smart water sensors by Grohe, a Lixil brand, are just one example.

Hands-free sensor technology continues to dominate, particularly in ICI environments where the reduction of harmful bacteria is a top priority, such as a healthcare facility.
In the commercial market, electronic faucets will become increasingly common, Myers said.

“We are developing some new commercial faucets that will be launched July 2019–SmartTherm,” Bosco said. “The electronic components will be integrated in the spout to facilitate maintenance, easier temperature adjustment… and the handle will be removable to eliminate tampering.” <>

The Genius shower from Riobel is ideal for hotels, according to Kathleen Saint-Yves, the company’s marketing director. The electronic pressure-balanced thermostatic shower system is customizable with either a hand shower and rain shower, or a bath shower with a hand or rain shower. On the installation side, the valve can be inserted between two 2×3 inch studs. The shower features a digital keypad and temperature sensor, and is designed to output up to 19 litres of water per minute at 60 psi.

The 404 and 405 series faucets from Chicago Faucets are intended for commercial restrooms. The underbody of the faucets has been updated to accommodate a newly designed spout connection for one-person installation. A knob rest covers the pop-up rod hole, and spout shanks are keyed.






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