Electronic technology is not the first thing that springs to mind when refurbishing a place of worship, but at St Peter’s church in Burnley, it proved the ideal solution.
St Peter’s normally hosts a wide range of community groups, including a well-attended Sunday School, a local music society and various choirs, plus an over 55s lunch club. The design brief for refurbishing their washrooms therefore had to cater for this broad spectrum of users, reflecting all age groups and differing mobility levels. Sustainability was another key element of the specification, to minimise environmental impact and future-proof the facilities. The Parochial Parish Council of St. Peter’s opted for DELABIE’s sensor controls for the taps and urinals as they met, and surpassed, the design brief.
As Treasurer of St Peter’s, David Smith was very aware of the sizeable utility bills. When presented with a solution to reduce water consumption, he immediately recognised the benefits of self-closing taps. Unlike the original cross-head taps, TEMPOMATIC 4 electronic taps are sensor activated, meaning water flows only when movement is detected. The water delivery (pre-set at 3 litres/minute) is split into wetting, soaping and rinsing, so while the user is soaping their hands, there is no flow. This fractional delivery will also pay dividends post-lockdown, as hand hygiene continues its vital role in public health.
The intelligent technology of the TEMPOMATIC 4 urinal valve also appealed to St Peter’s specification team, given the usage patterns i.e., periods of intense activity followed by lulls. The electronic unit detects busy periods and adapts its rinse accordingly to ensure the most hygienic flush whilst optimising water consumption. During busy periods, the bowl is rinsed between users and at the end of the busy period, a complementary rinse occurs, cleaning the bowl and preventing crystallisation of uric acid in the pipes.
Originally, Overton architects of Ilkley – specialists in heritage projects – specified a non-concussive push-button tap. However, as the pandemic took hold, the hygiene aspects of the TEMPOMATIC 4 technology proved very persuasive. The non-touch sensor controls require no physical contact, providing a significant barrier to the spread of germs. They are also easy to operate regardless of age or mobility levels. Part of their appeal is a hygienic duty flush (on both taps and urinals) which occurs every 24 hours after the last use to prevent stagnation and urine crystallisation in the pipework, avoiding conditions where bacteria can develop. This has practical benefits in a church facing varying activity levels; and even more so for washrooms that are temporarily moth-balled. Benefits that no specifier could have foreseen even 12 months ago.
The final aspect of the design brief was to reduce an onerous maintenance regime. The previous domestic style taps were not designed for intensive use over long periods and required frequent repairs to keep them in service. With no full-time maintenance staff, David was keen to install hard-wearing taps. Again, TEMPOMATIC controls proved ideal, with solid brass bodies, durable mechanisms and standardised components, all designed for commercial applications. Both the urinals and taps are battery-operated, with the electronic unit integrated within the body, making them easy to install and easy to access if maintenance is required. The battery life of 3 to 6 years (350,000) operations also appealed.
Refurbishing the washroom facilities at St Peter’s was a major undertaking, especially during a national pandemic. TEMPOMATIC 4 technology offered the ideal solution for the complex needs of a community-based facility that demands reliable, hygienic and sustainable washrooms for its users.
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