Environmentally friendly Toilets for the home
Other than the shower, the common bathroom toilet is one of the most water consumption heavy items in your home. The average common toilet uses approximately 6 gallons of water per flush. If this toilet were flushed an average of 5 times a day, that would amount to a staggering 30 gallons of water down the drain. This does not account for every household that has multiple family members using the toilet several times a day. This number can at times be 5 times that amount equaling close to 55000 gallons a year.
In North America there are a few governing bodies which control toilet water consumption standards. In Canada, there is the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) and the US has the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) as well as the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME).
These associations set the standard for water consumption in North America and will only certify toilets which meet their requirements of 6 Litres or 1.6 gallons of water per flush.
Why does a toilet use so much water?
The common residential toilet is of course the flush toilet. This type of toilet works by gravity. Water is stored above the toilet in a bowl where water is released into the toilet bowl by the user by pushing the flush lever.
Flush toilets work well because of a part called "the S bend" or "the siphon". This part is located within the hole at the bottom of the toilet bowl. This tube is shaped like an S and connects to the sewer plumbing under the toilet. The shape of this tube creates suction which literally pulls the water and waste out of the toilet bowl and into the sewer without letting any waste or dangerous gases rise up and into the bowl.
This form of toilet is still the most prominent form used in most households but with the amount of flushes daily and water being used, a greener direction is being taken by most households and people are starting to look for alternatives
Dual Flush Toilets
Although this toilet is the latest eco-friendly toilet to hit the market in North America it has been around for years in many countries around the world. This toilet is an important advancement for flush toilets as they offer two types of flushes: 1. 6L (1.6 gal) flush for solid waste and 2. 3L (0.79 gal) for non solid waste.
The Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) conducted a study on dual flush toilets "to assess the performance and user acceptance of dual-flush toilets". The results of their study showed that "Flush volumes were reduced by 68 per cent in single-family dwellings, 56 per cent in office washrooms, and 52 per cent in the participating restaurant." As well, "dual-flush toilets were found to save an average of 26 per cent more water than the single-flush 6-litre toilets when used to replace non-efficient toilets.
These toilets are very eco-friendly also very affordable! These toilets save a lot of water and the majority of users are very satisfied with this product. Unfortunately, some dual flush toilets do not work as efficiently as 6L flush toilets and as they are only just beginning to get recognized here in North America therefore there is a limited selection but with demand comes more supply.
A leading company regarding environmentally sustainability and water efficiency in their products is TOTO. Toto makes a superior environmentally friendly product based on their high efficiency flushing technologies and their advanced knowledge in engineering.
Toto produces many WaterSense qualified toilets that meet various personal design styles for the home. We personally have three of their dual flush toilets in our home and are very pleased with their performance! Stylish, incredibly easy to clean and they work REALLY well.
Composting toilets or "waterless" toilets are considered very eco-friendly and of course, since they use little to no water, are extremely conservational. Although these toilets may seem unlikely for your space they are surprisingly easy to maintain and incredibly efficient.
These toilets require very little to no water at all and yes they can be used within the home! These toilets can be either electric or non-electric and come in a variety of sizes and prices. These toilets have the most efficient use of waste on the market while also using no water at all in most cases but they can be expensive and will cost over $1000.00 to purchase.
Composting and waterless toilets require ventilation that must be installed to release fumes outside. This ventilation cannot be connected to your current plumbing and therefore could result in a difficult installation process.
Squat toilets are probably the least sexy of the available eco friendly toilet options although they are abundant in much of the Eastern world. These toilets are located flush on the ground using very little water and work in a very similar way to our toilet bowls. After using this toilet the user then pours a small amount of water into the bowl until the waste is removed. This is done by either a hose of water or a bucket of water depending on the facility. As the water level rises the waste is again sucked out and into the sewer.
These toilets are said to be more sanitary than flush toilets as there is no contact with the toilet and it is also said to be less expensive and easier to clean and maintain. From a design perspective these toilets will not add much to your design but used in a cottage or electricity free capacity, they can be a very viable choice.
The Sexy Green Home Opinion:
Choosing the right eco friendly toilet for yo home is becoming easier and easier. The hard part is deciding on the various styles and designs available. With the dual flush toilets, you can still retain the same style qualities and ease of use you've always enjoyed. The key with these toilets is compliance. To effectively reduce your water consumption, it is important to follow usage instructions when it comes to solid and liquid waste. These toilets work great and are available from some of the finest design houses around.
Learn more about conserving water with low flow faucets