“Owners are actively seeking out products that meet LEED design criteria with lower maintenance costs and easy installation,” according to Sean Martin, vice president of sales and marketing at Zurn. He said that sensor products enhance building presentation and provide benefits to the owner and users, especially with hands-free products that reduce bacteria transfer. Sloan Valve Co. is working on programmable plumbing system technologies that enable professionals to remotely turn faucets on and off or control how long they operate. According to Susan Kennedy, director of marketing, “Control systems are not only appropriate for high-use/high-abuse environments, but forward-thinking managers can use these systems to reduce labor costs and help maintain their facilities,” she adds.
Design is also becoming a trend these days, especially in healthcare applications where a desire to emulate a residential setting with functionality is growing. According to Sherry Petrin, director of commercial business development at Delta Faucet Co., “The idea that commercial products need to be institutional looking to be functional is no longer accepted in the commercial marketplace.”
All the manufacturers that we talked to agree that it’s still the plumbing wholesaler that continues to stay on top of the commercial faucet business. Even though there’s the power of the Internet at consumers’ hands, companies still need physical distribution, sales support, services and other supply chain functions, says Kennedy.