Lack of money for rebates halts Inland distribution of water-saving toilets

Source http://www.pe.com/localnews/inland/stories/PE_News_Local_S_toilets02.48120c7.html

By LAURIE LUCAS
The Press-Enterprise

 
Western Municipal Water District’s participation in a program that this week will finish delivering 1,500 water-saving toilets at no cost to Riverside County homes, hotels and commercial buildings is in limbo because of doubt about whether Western will receive promised rebates.

In the past three months, the Mission Inn, UC Riverside and March Air Reserve Base received a total of 1,000 of the toilets, and 500 went to Corona, mostly to multifamily residences such as apartments.

One low-flow toilet will save about 2 gallons per flush or 4,800 gallons a year, according to Clay Monroe, water conservation coordinator with Riverside Public Utilities.

But the program was suspended because of the uncertainty of reimbursement from the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, said Tim Barr. He’s the water use efficiency manager for Western, which covers 527 square miles serving 853,000 people in the Jurupa Valley, Corona, Norco, Riverside, Moreno Valley, Murrieta, Lake Elsinore, Canyon Lake and Temecula. Besides Riverside, the city of Corona also worked closely with Barr to promote the project.

Metropolitan’s blanket program, “SoCal Water$mart” was designed as a conservation incentive for the 26 cities and agencies that buy its water in six counties for 19 million people. Rebates on high-efficiency toilets and other equipment had been available to residents of areas that receive MWD water, including Eastern and Western municipal water districts in Riverside County and Inland Empire Utilities Agency in western San Bernardino County.

Barr said Western drew up its own marketing campaign touting low-flow toilets.

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William Wilson Lewis III / The Press-Enterprise
Michael Franchek, vice president of sales and marketing with Ecogreen Services, removes a 3.5-gallon toilet from an apartment in Riverside.

8,000 INSTALLED

Eastern installed 8,000 of the low-flow toilets this last fiscal year. The agency has shelved requests for another 1,500 until Metropolitan resolves its budget problems. Perris-based Eastern serves an area from Moreno Valley south to Temecula and east to Hemet and San Jacinto.

The Inland Empire Utilities Agency installed 4,256 low-flow toilets this last fiscal year. Chino-based Inland serves the cities of Chino, Chino Hills, Fontana, Montclair, Ontario, and Upland as well as the Cucamonga Valley and Monte Vista Water Districts and the Water Facilities Authority.

Initially, Metropolitan agreed to pitch in anywhere from $50 to $100 per toilet; Western would pick up the rest of the cost from its rate payers. But because Metropolitan didn’t have the money to cover the overwhelming demand for rebates, Western could be on the hook for anywhere from $65 to $110 per toilet, Barr said. “So Metropolitan is suspending its commercial program from three to six months until after an audit and they figure out how to go forward,” Barr said.

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Low-flow toilets save about 2 gallons per flush, or 4,800 gallons a year, conservation experts say.

MWD’s regional rebate program is $24 million in the hole. The program started with $20 million, which doubled last February. Those resources dried up in May and the board turned off the spending tap until an audit is complete. A report is expected at the next board meeting, July 14.

The San Bernardino Valley Municipal Water District, the regional equivalent of Metropolitan, serving 700,000 water users over 350 square miles, might offer a similar water conservation program, according to Douglass Headrick, deputy general manager. “We’re watching to see how this will play out with Metropolitan,” he said.

PROGRAM WINDS DOWN

Meanwhile, Western’s program is winding down this week with toilet installations concluding in the Sandra Apartments on 7th Street in Riverside, said contractor Michael Franchek.

His Encinitas-based company, Ecogreen Services, contracted with Western Municipal in April to install 1,500 toilets at $165 apiece. Since April, Franchek has placed 80 percent of the new toilets in multi-family residences and the rest in hotels and commercial buildings.

Low-flow toilets look no different from their predecessors and cost about the same, according to Franchek.

“They flow a lot less because of their intelligent design,” he said.

The old fixtures use 3.5 gallons per flush while their replacements use less than 1.3 gallons per flush. Recyclers grind up the put-out-to-pasture toilets which are used as construction aggregate.

Russ Kitchen, director of the Mission Inn’s property operations, said he’s pleased with the 80 new low-flows, the latest in the hotel’s efforts to go green.

“We’re always looking for ways to conserve our natural resources,” he said. Management has retrofitted its cooling center to use less energy and replaced most lighting with fluorescent bulbs.

Reach Laurie Lucas at 951-368-9569 or llucas@PE.com

TO SAVE WATER

Take shorter showers

Turn off the faucet when brushing teeth

Water your lawn only when it needs it

Use a broom to clean driveways and sidewalks

Adjust sprinklers so they don’t water driveways and sidewalks

Wash only full loads of laundry

Run dishwasher only when full

Fix leaky faucets and toilets

Use a shut-off nozzle on your hose

Plant drought-resistant trees and plants

Source: Western Municipal Water District

 

 

Green is the new Black – Introducing Green Friday

Despite the current economic outlook, Black Friday will still be one of the biggest shopping days of the year. Last year, the weekend after Thanksgiving alone, Americans spent nearly 28 BILLION DOLLARS shopping.

 

Why not make this coming Friday a Green Friday? You don’t have to spend a lot to save a lot. If you opt for energy and water saving fixtures, you will not only start saving money on lower utility and water bills, you will also help our environment and our economy. Just by replacing one light bulb with a CFL (or, even better: an LED), you can save $30 or more in electrical cost over each bulbs lifetime. Because they last about 10 times longer than regular light bulbs, you also keep waste out of landfills.

 

You can save Water AND Money if you replace an old, inefficient toilet with a Caroma Dual Flush toilet. If you are a customer of one of the below mentioned Water Utilities and meet the qualifications listed you will receive a $100 credit on your water bill for up to two (2) toilets each.

 

Qualifications to receive a toilet rebate

  1. Have an individual residential account with a participating water utility in the District and be up to date on your billing payments.
  2. Own or rent a single-family residential home built in 1993 or earlier (this will be verified).
  3. Purchase an approved toilet after September 28, 2007 to replace an older toilet using greater than 1.6 gallons per flush (gpf).

The following Utilities participate in the Toilet Rebate program

 

ecoTransitions is offering $25 off  each model until the end of November, local pick-up at our warehouse in Austell or delivery available for a small charge.  

 

Please visit http://www.ecotransitions.com/ to view our models and http://www.youtube.com/ecotransitions to see why you can kiss the plunger good-bye. 

 

Happy Thanksgiving!

 

Caroma’s Latest Introduction Sets New Conservation Standard

Caroma has launched its most water conscious toilet yet – the Sydney Smart. This latest addition to the company’s line of dual flush toilets, and already WaterSense approved by the EPA, offers the lowest water use of any toilet available in America.

Caroma is the world leader with innovative, high efficiency toilets. The Caroma Smart (TM) Technology is leading-edge and has been developed and mastered over the last decade to deliver the ultimate of design, water savings, and performance. Sydney Smart, Caroma’s newest dual flush, is the first dual-flush toilet utilizing 0.8 gpf for the half and only 1.28 gpf for the full flush, therefore provides significant water savings. With the built-in lower flush option, typically used four times more often than the larger flush, Sydney Smart provides the highest water savings of any high efficiency toilet (HET) available, as it calculates to an average of 0.89 gallons per flush.

Like all Caroma toilets, Sydney Smart uses Wash Down flushing instead of siphon action and has a trapway nearly double the industry average. Caroma engineers enhanced the water dynamics from the flush valve to the bowl to ensure that a small volume of water would successfully evacuate the bowl and all the way through the drain line. The Smart models maintain Caroma’s reputation for clog-proof performance.

The continuing drought in the South, California’s new legislation mandating high efficiency toilets and the eco-movement are forcing Americans to consider water saving strategies like those developed in Australia, where droughts are measured in years, rather than months.  Dual flush toilets are credited as one of the chief ways per capita water consumption has been cut 25 percent over the last decade.

Since introducing dual flush toilets twenty-five years ago in Australia, Caroma continually has advanced the performance of its products.  The Smart technology, setting a new benchmark for water efficiency, was used in product installed at the Sydney Olympics in 2000 and later incorporated into the line in 2004.  The Sydney Smart arrives here after years of market acceptance in Australia and Caroma’s Asian markets.

The Sydney Smart is an EPA-approved WaterSense toilet, meaning it is among the most water-efficient and best performing models on the market.  Caroma is the industry leader with 41 Water Sense models. 

Caroma, a wholly owned subsidiary of GWA International Limited, a Brisbane, Australia-based company, is at the forefront of water efficient plumbing, and exports products to 39 countries. Its development and constant improvement of dual flush technology have led to dual flush toilets outselling single flush toilets around the world.

SOURCE  Caroma USA, ebuild and Reuters

If you are interested in finding out more about Caroma Dual Flush toilets, visit www.ecotransitions.com. To view videos showing why Caroma toilets work, visit ecoTransitions on YouTube. Watch an amazing video of Eddie Wilcut, the Water Conservation Manager for the City of San Antonio, flushing a Russet potato down a Caroma toilet with the full flush (1.6 gallon) AND half flush (0.8 gallon), which is meant for liquid waste.

Learn even more about Caroma Dual Flush Toilets here