Plunger or Brush?

During my very first visit to the US (during my honeymoon, to be precise) I had my very first, very embarrassing experience with a plunger. After all, it happened at my mother-in-law’s house. As it happened again at a hotel in Las Vegas a few years later, I still didn’t understand why I clog a toilet in the US, but never have before in Germany.

I moved to the US many years later and bought an older home. As the drought in Georgia worsened in 2007, I noticed that the toilets in our home used 3.5 gallons for each flush. I started looking around in home improvement stores and was stunned that all toilets available used 1.6 gallons for each flush. As toilets with the option of using very little water for flushing No. 1 have been available in Germany  for a very long time, I could not believe I couldn’t find them here. So after much research, I finally found Caroma Dual Flush toilets and decided to spread the word and help Georgians flushing less water and money down the toilet. After I learned why Caroma toilets work so well with very little water, I realized why American toilets clog. So finally, 16 years later I realized that there was nothing wrong with me, or my diet, that I clogged a toilet on my honeymoon!

Standard US toilets clear the bowl with siphon technology, so the waste in the bowl gets pulled into the drain and out into the trap way. In order to create this siphon action, the trap way needs to be as narrow as possible, usually around 2 to 2 3/4 inches. You can see how siphon vs. washdown technology works here

Although most of the time this flushing method gets rid of the waste efficiently, there is a tendency for blockages to occur in the toilet trap way.

Australian and European designed toilets use a wash down method which “pushes” the waste down, instead of “pulling” it. This is why European toilets have a larger diameter trap way which results in less clogging.

One drawback of wash down toilets is the smaller water spot in the bowl, which can result in “skid marks” happening on occasion. So it really comes down to a matter of personal preference. If you are comfortable with getting out a plunger to unclog your toilet every now and again, then stick with an American style toilet. If you have issues with clogged toilets and don’t mind using a toilet brush every now and then an Australian or European style model may work better for you.

40 Important Ways that Colleges Are Conserving Water

http://www.bestcollegesonline.com/blog/2011/09/06/40-important-ways-that-colleges-are-conserving-water/

Water is a precious resource, and although it flows freely from the tap, it’s not infinite. Green campus lawns, clean cafeteria plates, and even air conditioned dorms don’t happen without using lots of water. As major institutions, colleges are serious users of water, and although some don’t yet recognize the need to conserve water, many of them do. In fact, college campuses are home to some of the most innovative ideas for water conservation, implementing water management technology, smart conservation policies, and more. Read on to find out about 40 great ways colleges are putting great minds to work on water conservation.

  1. Cal State-LA technology

    Using a wireless water management service, Cal State-LA was able to lower their water bills and reduce water usage by about 27 million gallons in 18 months. The system also saves valuable staff time and adjusts to weather changes, turning off water before it rains.

  2. A new low flow standard

    The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education reports that low flow showerheads and faucets, as well as low water volume toilets and urinals are standard practice for US colleges.

  3. Dual flush toilets

    In addition to low flow toilets, colleges like Harvard are also using dual flush toilets, which allow toilets to use less water unless deemed necessary by their users.

  4. Recycling rooftop rainwater

    Drexel University turns rainwater into a resource rather than waste. Instead of sending it down the pipes to treatment plants, Drexel collects rainwater for non-potable uses, including toilet flushing, landscaping, and gardening.

  5. Cutting back on car washing

    Colleges make use of many vehicles on and off campus, and those vehicles need to be washed, but not frequently. Schools like the University of Washington have cut back on car washing in their motor pools to save water.

  6. Using campus resources

    Large campuses may have access to creeks and wells on their land. At Stanford University, almost 75% of water used for irrigation comes from water sourced on Stanford’s own land.

  7. Going trayless

    Many colleges are ditching trays in their cafeterias, cutting food waste, conserving water, and even keeping the “freshman 15” off new students. At Williams College alone, the college is saving 14,000 gallons of water each year by eliminating trays at one of four campus dining halls.

  8. Landscaping with drought-tolerant plants

    At Saint Mary’s College, drought-tolerant plants have been put in place, including oleander, lavender, and nadina, with drought-tolerant plants making up about 95% of campus plants.

  9. Installing water misers

    Schools like Stanford have made use of water misers on autoclaves in the Medical School and research buildings. Instead of having water running 24 hours a day on the devices, misers sense when the water is needed and when it is not. This measure alone has helped to reduce water usage in these buildings by over 50%.

  10. Educating students

    At UC-Santa Cruz, students arriving on campus will learn about water conservation in their orientation meetings, and the campus offers dorm room usage audits as well.

  1. Removing bottled water

    Instead of allowing bottled water as an option at campus events and at dining facilities, colleges like Harvey Mudd College are selling or providing refillable water bottles to faculty, staff, and students.

  2. Recirculating systems

    Coolers and other equipment using once-through water cooling systems are being replaced with ones that reuse cooled water, saving not only water, but electricity and gas as well.

  3. Water Wise House Call

    At Stanford University, they have recognized that university water usage doesn’t end off campus. Faculty and staff have their impact in private homes as well. With the Water Wise House Call program, the university has been able to manage water usage off campus by providing information and resources to faculty and staff.

  4. The Living Machine

    At Oberlin College, students get involved in wastewater cleaning with The Living Machine. The machine processes wastewater into reusable greywater by relying on natural cleaning methods in wetlands, including plants and bacteria.

  5. Green campus grounds with reclaimed water

    At the University of California Santa Barbara, 90% of campus grounds are kept green using reclaimed water. This water is also used to flush toilets in some buildings. Reclaimed water is wastewater that has undergone a treatment process, but does not meet standards for drinking.

  6. Recycling carpet

    Carpet doesn’t sound like a big water waster, but at Oberlin College, they’ve calculated their savings from recycling carpet. By recycling 177,057 square feet of used carpet, they’ve saved 112,136.1 gallons of water, in addition to 1,227,418,143 BTUs of energy.

  7. Natural thawing

    Some schools previously thawed food using running water. Instead, colleges like Evergreen State have implemented better planning, and are able to thaw all food products naturally without the use of running water.

  8. Leak detection technology

    Some schools employ water conservation technology that includes leak detection, allowing them to identify and correct leaks that exist on campus.

  9. Updated laundry rooms

    Colleges are upgrading to high efficiency front loading washers, and becoming even more energy efficient by using technology that allows them to monitor the status of the machines. At Canisius College, 755,638 gallons of water have been saved since 2006.

  10. I Heart Tap Water

    UC-Berkeley’s I Heart Tap Water campaign promoted tap water as the beverage of choice for the campus. The university credits the campaign’s success to the testing of more than 450 water fountains on campus to ensure water quality. The program has reduced campus usage of plastic water bottles on campus by at least 25%.

  1. Using cisterns

    Colleges are using cisterns to harvest rainwater. At Harford Community College, they capture rooftop runoff in an 80,000 gallon cistern to use in an evaporative cooling tower.

  2. Leak reporting

    Dripping faucets can waste more than 600 gallons a year, and running toilets waste more than 131,000 gallons. On many college campuses, students, faculty, and staff are encouraged to report any leaks that they see. Doing so can alert the maintenance staff to undiscovered sources of water waste that can be resolved easily.

  3. Hand sanitizer installation

    Duke University and many others have cut down on water used for sanitation purposes by installing hand sanitizers in bathrooms and other common areas. For quick sanitation purposes, a full hand wash using water is not needed, and alcohol-based sanitizer can be used instead.

  4. Smart flushing

    In addition to low flow and dual flush toilets, schools are updating with automatic eye flushers. These toilets flush according to the length of time a person is sitting on it, with a 1.1 gallon flush for less than 65 seconds, and 1.6 for 65 seconds or more.

  5. Laundry education

    Tufts reminds students to practice sustainable laundry techniques. Using a flyer, students are educated on using cold water options for washing clothing.

  6. Increased irrigation ponds

    At Duke University, they are taking advantage of more natural water storage by increasing the size of irrigation ponds on their golf course. This water can be used for toilets, landscaping, and more.

  7. Water free urinals

    Many colleges, including Vanderbilt University, are installing water-free urinals, which do not flush. Instead, the urinals use liquid chemicals and gravity, saving up to 40,000 gallons of water each year.

  8. Water use monitoring

    Enhancing awareness of water usage can help conservation efforts, making those who consume water more careful in their usage. Several colleges, including UC-Santa Cruz, have shared water use data publicly and within their community to spotlight conservation of water.

  9. Watering at night

    At lots of schools, watering was completed manually during the daytime, but more recently, colleges have implemented smart irrigation systems that water during the evening or early morning hours, saving evaporation, as well as overspray.

  10. Native plants

    Colleges like Centralia are switching to native plants, which need less water and maintenance due to their indigenous status.

  1. Rooftop vegetation

    To reduce the passage of rainwater into the sewer system, colleges are installing green roofs, which feature vegetation that consumes a large amount of water before running off. These systems also help to keep the top floor of buildings cooler during hot months, and insulated from cold temperatures and icy winds in the winter.

  2. Reduced power washing

    Everyone likes to see a sparkly clean college, but many schools are recognizing that they don’t need to power wash as often as they have in the past. At the University of Washington, power washing has been reduced to the removal of graffiti and slippery materials only.

  3. Simple reminders

    Using stickers, signs, and other awareness tools, schools are placing simple reminders in high water usage areas, such as busy restrooms. These reminders can help students be mindful about their water usage.

  4. Purchasing Energy Star equipment

    Dishwashers, washing machines, and other water-consuming appliances can make a big difference in water usage, especially on a college sized scale. Schools like Boston College are replacing their old equipment with new, more energy efficient machines, cutting water consumption by 50%.

  5. Updated facilities equipment

    Water cooled compressors, single pass chillers, cooling towers, and more often use water, and not always efficiently. Schools like the University of Washington have identified water wasting equipment and updated them, such as replacing water cooled compressors with air cooled ones.

  6. Drought-tolerant grass

    Schools are adopting the use of grass that doesn’t need to be watered or mowed often. At UC-Davis and UC-Riverside, a new strain of grass, UC-Verde, was created. This grass needs only 25% the amount of water used for typical turf grasses.

  7. On-demand hot water heaters

    Residential buildings may have their hot water heaters upgraded to tankless on demand models. At Dartmouth, these heaters are used to save water while students wait for the water to heat up.

  8. Removing lawn areas

    Maintaining lawn areas typically means keeping up with watering, but at Scripps College, they may not have to deal with it as much. The college is considering removing lawn areas where appropriate, reducing the amount of water needed to maintain campus lawns.

  9. Water coolers and taps

    With the use of water coolers, students, faculty, and staff can fill up reusable containers instead of buying bottled water. Schools like Dartmouth have employed the use of Brita pitchers and point of service units that dispense filtered (and sometimes even flavored) water.

  10. Water recycling washing machines

    At Middlebury College, soiled aprons and chef jackets go through to wash and rinse cycles, which ordinarily would be wasteful. But using a water recycler, the college is able to capture the rinse water for the next wash cycle.

Cost of Dual Flush Toilets – Material pricing and labor cost calculator

Source: http://www.homewyse.com/costs/cost_of_dual_flush_toilets.html#.TkZXouxq_mQ.facebook

July 2011

Do you need to know the range of average installed costs for Dual Flush Toilets in your zip code? Do you need an independent, 2011 cost breakdown of Dual Flush Toilet material and installation costs?

The Homewyse Dual Flush Toilet cost estimator provides up to date pricing information for your neighborhood. Enter your zip code, the size of your project below and click “Update”. The table below summarizes the average 2011 cost to install Dual Flush Toilets in your area for good, better and custom quality work.

Dual Flush Toilet Costs zip code units
Basic Better Best
Dual Flush Toilet Prices (Material Only) $195 – $260 $251 – $326 $317 – $382
Dual Flush Toilet Installation Cost $45 – $72 $67 – $95 $89 – $124
Dual Flush Toilet – Total $239 – $333 $318 – $421 $406 – $506
Dual Flush Toilet Average Cost per unit $286.05 $369.50 $455.91
  • In most situations, you will want to have Dual Flush Toilet installation completed by a Plumber. Use the free Homewyse checklist for effective, objective advice in finding, hiring and managing a capable and trustworthyPlumber. Avoid common problems and get quality work at a fair price.
  • You may want to consider having the Dual Flush Toilet installation completed by a Plumbing Contractor. But – do your homework to minimize common risks. Make sure that your Plumbing Contractor has relevant Dual Flush Toilet experience, that you verify past work, and that you follow the homewyse checklist to find and hire a capable service professional.
  • Avoid costly warranty and maintenance problems for your Dual Flush Toilet – insist that all work to be performed with proper installation techniques and materials. Use the homewyse Toilet Installation checklists to make sure important functional and aesthetic details are completed properly.

Dual Flush Toilets – Pricing and Installation Cost Notes

  • The homewyse cost estimates includes all typical costs for toilet, wax ring, toilet seat and plumbing supply connection.
  • The homewyse installation cost estimate does not include costs for repair or modification of existing subfloor, or location of drain or water connections.
  • Higher priced Dual Flush Toilets may include features such as designer styles, wider range of colors and advanced flushing capabilities.
  • Dual Flush Toilet installation costs are commonly quoted from a standard rate and can be estimated by the service professional with inspecting the job site.
  • Save money on the total project by having multiple vendors bid on the same, complete description of Dual Flush Toilet work for your project.
  • Save money on installation costs by being flexible on project scheduling and be willing to complete your work during slow periods for the service provider.
  • Save money by shopping online or by choosing discountinued, odd lot, remnant or incorrectly ordered items from your retailer.

Dual Flush Toilet Costs – 2011 Dual Flush Toilets Prices and Installation Costs for Your Area – Homewyse.com

Dual Flush Toilet Costs – 2011 Dual Flush Toilets Prices and Installation Costs for Your Area – Homewyse.com.

With the $100 rebate that is offered in most Metro Atlanta areas and the reduced water bill, you may recover the cost of a new toilet in a year or two!

Caroma’s 2011 “One Flush Makes a Difference” Promotion – 50% off MSRP

http://www.caromausa.com/2011/02/09/2011_one_flush_makes_a_difference_50_off_promotion.php

2011 “One Flush Makes a Difference” Promotion

Caroma’s 50% off promotion is back! Last year’s promotion was a huge success and this year we’re once again inviting customers to receive a coupon for 50% off the list price of any qualifying Caroma toilet or sink at participating reseller locations*. The 2011 “One Flush Makes a Difference” promotion honors Earth Month and helps bring awareness to all that Caroma does to promote water-efficiency. You have until June 30, 2011 to participate in the promotion and receive 50 % off the list price of any qualifying Caroma toilet or sink.

Can One Flush Make a Difference?

Absolutely! In the United States federal law requires that new toilets must not exceed 1.6 gallons of water per flush (gpf). The high efficiency toilet (HET) category has set a standard in North America with 1.28 gallons per flush (gpf). Caroma’s HET’s go even further: The average flush of the toilets in Caroma’s standard collection is 1.06 gpf, while the Smart Series features an industry breaking 0.96 gpf!

Just think. If just one person uses a high efficiency toilet for one year then they will save around 330 gallons of water (based on the average three times a day flush). Further, if your toilet is from the 1980s, when new toilets were regulated to use 3.5 gallons of water per flush, you would save 2,410 gallons per year by switching to a HET toilet!

The numbers simply add up. If five people replaced their old 3.5 gpf toilet, over 12,000 gallons of water or the equivalent of 300 20-minute showers would be saved. One flush does make a difference, but if 2,000 people with new toilets switched to a HET toilet, in one year you would be able to fill an Olympic sized swimming pool with the water saved: 660,430 gallons! If 822 people using the old 3.5 gpf toilets changed to a Caroma HET toilet, we could fill an Olympic pool with the water saved!

Start Saving. Now you can save money and water at the same time with Caroma’s “One Flush Makes a Difference” 50% off promotion.

*Available through participating resellers only.
Excludes Invisi™ Series, Somerton Smart 270, Sydney Smart 305 One-Piece, Cube Ultra, H2 Zero Waterless and Flow Showerheads. Shipping not included. 50% discount is based off of the list price. Promotion runs from February 14, 2011 through June 30, 2011. Offer available to all North American residents (Canada exempt). Coupon must be present at time of purchase.
 

Click here to see Participating Dealers – if you are in Georgia, contact ecoTransitions.

All floor mounted models also qualify for the various toilet rebate programs in the US!

Pottygirl made it on the News flushing her potatoes: Road Warrior: Georgia Home, Garden Show

Road Warrior: Georgia Home, Garden Show.

Dekalb County, GA approves Water Rate Hike

The DeKalb County Board of Commissioners approved an 11 percent water and sewer rate increase to pay for nearly $1.4 billion in water and sewer system upgrades in the County.

If your home was built prior to 1993 and you haven’t upgraded your toilets yet, you are wasting a significant amount of water and money. By upgrading an old, inefficient toilet to a WaterSense labeled High Efficiency Dual Flush toilet you can reduce your water usage between 40% and 70%. On top of the water savings achieved by reduced water usage, you will also receive a $100 rebate from Dekalb County Watershed (if you meet the requirements) – details can be found here. If you opt for a Caroma Dual Flush toilet, you can also retire your plunger, as these toilets virtually do not clog (want proof? view this flushing video from ecoTransitions).