“Studies indicate that converting to water efficient toilets, showers and clothes washers, results in a household water savings of about 30 percent compared to conventional fixtures. A change to high-efficiency toilets alone, reduces toilet water use by over 50 percent and indoor water use by an average of 16 percent. This translates into a savings of 15,000 to 20,000 gallons per year for a family of four…
“The general public also benefits directly from water conservation measures. Practiced on a wide basis, efficient use of water resources helps reduce the potential need during drought periods for water restrictions such as bans on lawn watering and car-washing. Savings to the consumer from lower water bills, depending on local water rates and actual use, can range from $50 to $100 per year. Many hotels, motels, and office buildings are finding that new fixtures are saving them 20 percent on water and wastewater costs.”
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency' s Wastewater Technology Fact Sheet: High-Efficiency Toilets, Sept. 2000.The green marketplace encourages the use of high-performance, water conserving products. Credits can be obtained under the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System for “Innovative Wastewater Technologies” and “Water Use Reduction.” With the number of products available to specifiers and contractors, this area of the design and construction process should prove to be effortless - except for determining which of the high-performance toilets, waterless urinals, faucets and fixtures to specify. Following is a small sampling of water conserving products displayed at recent trade shows.
ToiletsFor example, the Gold LEED-certified project, Vancouver Island Advanced Technology Park, utilized products from Australian-based manufacturer Caroma. Caroma high-performance toilets with a two-button dual flush system are now available across Canada and the United States. Municipal research authorities in Seattle and California are even recommending Caroma toilets after completing extensive water conservation and efficiency tests, the company says. Caroma toilets' dual flush system, Duoflo, uses 0.8 gallons of water for liquid waste and 1.6 gallons of water for solid waste compared to conventional 1.6 gallon single flush toilets. Caroma says this can save almost 27 percent more water without compromising flushing performance.
Kohler Co. (Kohler, Wis.) has introduced the Cimarron Comfort Height toilet featuring the Class Five flushing system, with a 3 1/4-inch flush valve, and direct-fed jet technology. The company says Class Five flushing technology provides the answer to consumers who have expressed the need for a gravity-fed toilet that effectively removes ultra bulk waste without plugging. Designed for both residential and commercial applications, the Cimarron toilet offers water savings via a 1.4-gallon flush setting option that can be adjusted during installation to help reduce demands on water supply.
Low-flow toilets from TOTO USA Inc. (Morrow, Ga.) were used in The Towers of Chestnut Hill (Newton, Mass.), saving an estimated 40 percent savings in water costs. In recent comparison testing of 49 current vintage residential and commercial toilet fixtures undertaken by the Seattle Public Utilities and East Bay Municipal Utility Project, TOTO's 1.6 gpf ultra-low-flow toilets captured top honors, the company says. TOTO also recently introduced EcoPower, a self-generating hydropower sensor faucet that uses the electrical power generated by its own water flow.
Geberit's (Des Plaines, Ill.) pressure-assist toilet can save up to 25 percent more water than conventional 1.6 gpf technologies according to the company. The PF2 by Geberit pressure tank technology is available in both seamless wall-hung bowl/in-the-wall tank design and as a stand-alone toilet with attached water closet.
Faucets And FixturesProducts such as Delta Faucet Co.'s (Indianapolis) hands-free faucet designed for residential applications reduced the potential for water waste. Delta's e-Flow faucet adjusts to its environment, preventing false activations when a toothbrush or towel falls into the sink. In addition, the faucet operates with a 30-second maximum run time that automatically resets once the obstruction is removed. An electronic faucet in the home can also reduce the spread of germs by reducing the use of handles.
Technical Concepts (Mundelein, Ill.) offers Radius Touch-Free Technology, an advanced operating system of automatic faucets, flushers, soap dispensers, and related products. “AutoFaucets, utilizing Radius technology, reduce water usage by as much as 70 percent,” says George Patrick Murphy, president and CEO of Technical Concepts.
The Chicago Faucet Co. of Des Plaines, Ill. (a division of the Geberit Group based in Jona Switzerland) has introduced Galileo wall mount electronic faucets. The new 683-CP (DC) and 653-CP (AC) electronic wall mount faucets have all the features and benefits of the existing Galileo products and are targeted specifically for food service, surgical scrub and medical applications. The new wall-mount hands-free faucets have field adjustable sensor distances and are field configurable to water saver, metering, normal and time delay modes.
Waterless UrinalsEven Rose Bowl attendees can experience and appreciate water conserving measures. All of the trough-type urinals in the men's restrooms at Pasadena's Rose Bowl have been replaced by 259 Falcon Waterfree Technologies (Grand Rapids, Mich.) urinals. When combined with the savings from the New Year's Day game, UCLA's home football games and other events, the total water conserved in a year is more than one million gallons, according to Falcon. Falcon uses a cartridge system at the base of its urinal with no water waste.
Waterless Co.'s (San Diego, Calif.) No Flush Urinals do not require a water supply or flush valve of any kind. The product, used with an EcoTrap barrier, provides a hygienic solution that saves costs associated with water, maintenance and sewer.
The FLUSHMATE Division (Franklin Park, Ill.) of Sloan Valve Co., has developed a quiet-operation 1-gallon (4.0-liter) pressure-assist operating system for tank-type toilets that uses 33 percent less water than conventional 1.6 gpf technologies, the company says. The FLUSHMATE IV pressure-assist 1-gallon operating system for High Efficient Toilets (HET) generates almost three times the flow rate of gravity units at 70 gallons per minute.
The power-assisted Ultra-Flush from Gerber Plumbing Fixtures Corp. (Lincolnwood, Ill.) conserves water and also helps to reduce water bills and the need for double flushing, the company says. The power-assisted Ultra-Flush uses 1.6 gallons of water per flush and features the largest water surface of any low-consumption toilets, exceeding the 10 by 12-inch minimum. The water seal and trapway exceed the 3-inch and 2-inch minimums respectively.
By installing Mansfield Plumbing Products' (Perrysville, Ohio) EcoQuantum pressure-assist dual flush toilets, the company says daily toilet water consumption can be reduced to about 3.8 gallons per person, significantly less than the 20.1 gallon average. The product is operated by pushing down for 1.0 gallon per flush and pulling up for 1.6 gallons per flush.
Vancouver Island Advanced Technology Park, a LEED certified building, utilizes Caroma high-performance toilets with a two-button, dual-flush system.
Technical Concepts offers automatic, touch-free restroom products. The company's president says AutoFaucets reduce water usage by as much as 70 percent.