BATHROOMS & KITCHENS
An IoT temperature monitoring unit
8 | BUILDING PRODUCTS
ensuring an auto-fl ush cistern is only fi lled,
and can only fl ush, when the washroom
is used. It is activated by short-term
pressure drops created by the use of
taps or WCs on the same supply.
For more advanced control, an
infrared urinal fl ush control valve
(IRC) can be used. When the passive
infrared (PIR) sensor in the IRC
detects movement in the washroom,
a pulse from the sensor opens the
normally-closed solenoid valve and
water fl ows to the cistern.
Both methods meet the requirement
within the Water Regulations that a control
system must be in place to stop waste.
At the next level is a mains-fed direct
fl ush unit that senses occupancy and
automatically fl ushes an individual urinal
after use, ensuring the highest level of
hygiene and minimum volume of water.
Direct fl ushing removes the need for an
auto-fl ush cistern and associated plumbing,
which is found in older, more traditional
For WC fl ushing, the toilet handle is
gradually being consigned to history, once
more by an infrared sensor. Suitable for
both cistern-reliant and direct, cistern-free
systems, these are programmable in a variety
of ways, giving full control over the volume
of water used and whether it is operated with
a wave of the hand or by simply standing up
and walking away.
At a higher level still is the intelligent
washroom control that saves energy as well
Healthy water is important in any building.
But perhaps, nowhere more so than in large
complexes such as hospitals and universities.
This is where the IoT can bring about a revolution
in water management.
Facilities managers, conscious of the need to
guard against conditions that might lead to an
outbreak of Legionella, will typically employ
someone to carry out periodic manual checks.
This would see that person literally
turning taps on and off in washrooms to
check the water isn’t at temperatures
likely to stimulate the breeding of
Not only is this costly and
infrequent, it relies on the
human element to record
the results. Even electronic
systems require manual
temperature checks and
analysing the data.
Using IoT technology it is now possible to have
real-time monitoring across large and complex
water systems with a temperature reading taken at
multiple points every 10 seconds.
While this generates huge amounts of data
stored within a ‘cloud’ database, an alarm is only
raised when water temperature or fl ow are outside
defi ned parameters.
With a manual system there is a high risk of
failure to detect Legionella because sporadic
checks will not highlight a trend over time during
which bacteria might spread.
With IoT, detailed analysis is carried out
without manual intervention, generating reports
to meet compliance requirements.
Other benefi ts
Using IoT for monitoring can have additional
benefi ts such as testing how effi cient a system is
at transferring hot water and therefore combating
energy wasted through heat loss.
If there is a difference between the temperature
at the boiler and at the tap then this will suggest
that better cladding is needed or possibly that the
supply should be re-routed.
Looking to the future, the same technology
can be used to monitor changes in pressure,
which would suggest a leak in the system. Add in
monitoring for vibration and humidity and you
start to build a bigger picture.
With all this information it will become
possible to forecast and therefore prevent failures.
By putting in thresholds we can proactively
manage a situation before it becomes critical.
Monitoring in isolation is useful but make it
comprehensive and we should be able to predict
failure months in advance.
Intelligent systems will in many ways shape the
washrooms of the future, delivering more effi cient
water usage, reducing energy consumption,
minimising health risks and preventing costly and
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