Friday, June 6, 2008

For the Eco-Conscious: Water-Saving Toilet?

Costco just sent out their June 2008 magazine and this short write-up on "The water-saving toilet" in page 53 (under Tips for everyday living) caught my eye. It states:

"Older toilets use about 3.5 gallons per flush (gpf). New toilets use 1.6 gpf - which could save 12,000 gallons over a course of a year."

Hmmmm, not sure what assumptions they used for calculating the volume savings of the water-saving toilet but let's scrutinize this closer... 12,000 gallons is
- 7500 flushes/year
- 20.5 flushes/day
- for a 2-member household, that is ~10 flushes/day/individual. This is probably too high unless both individuals stay at home 24/7.
- for a 4-member household, that is ~5 flushes/day/individual. Sounds just about right.

For the high Texas water rates (0.6 cents per gallon), 12000 gallons of water saved translates to about $72. For other places where the water rates are lower, the savings will be lower as well.

So what does it take to get these water-saving toilet? A quick check of shows that you can get a water-saving toilet for as low as $119. (And by the way, has some with 1.28 gpf specs.)

Assuming the plumber charges $100 for the installation, then changing out to a new water-saving toilet would be at least $219. This cost would be compensated by the savings within about 3 years. For places with lower water rates, the "return on investment" will be more than that.

One of the disadvantages of the water-saving toilet is its inconsistent ability to always flush away what needs to be flushed. (You know what I mean!)

Despite the length of time to recoup the capital expense to upgrade to a water-saving toilet and the consistent cleaning efficiency challenges, it is worthwhile to look into this. In the long run, your water bills will be lower. You would also be then putting in your contribution to the global movement of water conservation.

Meanwhile, the Costco write-up continues:
" Even more savings are offered by dual-flush toilets. They feature two buttons: one for liquid waste, which uses a partial flush (0.8 gpf); the other for solid waste, using a full flush (1.6 gpf)."

uhhhh....interesting. So in the future, we got to teach Junior to press the left button for "number 1" and the right button for "number 2". Gives me an idea..Perhaps those buttons should be labeled "1" and "2" also - and we have just created another teachable opportunity. :)

Lastly, while checking out earlier, I discovered a "waterless" solution which costs at least $1399. It is of the "composting" type...I can't (or perhaps refuse to?) imagine it right now... but just thinking what the creative minds would be inventing next...

Would you like to try the composting toilet? :)


pracso June 16, 2008 at 2:08 PM  

The composting toilet would be nice IF the composting pit is at least a mile away from your house!

Rela Pantaleon-Manigsaca June 16, 2008 at 8:23 PM  

I agree!!! It's going to be closer to someone else's house though :)

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