The new buzz in pressure-assist technology is 1-gallon-per-flush systems. Both W/C Technology Corp. and Sloan Flushmate are developing such systems in response to the looming water crisis in many parts of the United States.
“There are currently 17 states that have a severe drought condition, and we’re getting a tremendous amount of interest from those communities looking for additional water savings,” says Paul DeBoo, sales manager at Sloan Flushmate. “Interest is also great in hotels and multihousing projects where water is expensive.”
The flash point for this issue may very well be California because of its extreme water crisis, explains Bruce Martin, former president of W/C Technology who now functions as a consultant to the company.
“The 1-gallon flush issue is going to be the next controversy in the industry as the water crisis continues to get worse,” he says. “The government and the courts recently stopped California from overdrawing the Colorado River to provide water for its citizens; now the state is looking at a water crisis in 2012. You’re going to see California swing to mandatory 1-gallon legislation to help resolve the problem.”
More water is used in the bathroom than in any other place in the home. According to a 1999 study of 14 cities by the American Water Works Association Research Foundation, toilets account for 26.7 percent of all indoor water use.
Sloan Flushmate is working with the U.S. Green Building Council and its LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) program on water conservation issues, DeBoo says. The council is interested in technology providing a 30 percent drop in water consumption.
Sloan’s recently introduced 1-gpf product, Flushmate IV, would qualify for that program. The company states that its new system uses 45 percent less water than conventional 1.6-gpf technologies.
“We’re providing the same level of performance as 1.6-gpf toilets, as well as the additional water savings,” he notes. The Flushmate IV currently is available in toilet models from Capizzi, Mancesa and St. Thomas Creations.
European MarketOpening up Europe for pressure-assist technology is another hot issue, Martin says. At the recent ISH Frankfurt show in Frankfurt, Geberit introduced the PF/2 pressure-flush system at its booth and was overwhelmed with attendees demanding more information. “The Geberit people couldn’t believe how interested the people were,” he says.
While the market seems to be opening up, the fact remains that pressure-assist toilets are still noisier than their gravity counterparts. But DeBoo says that tremendous efforts are in effect to reduce the sound of pressure-flush technologies and improvements will be seen in the future.