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Water Efficient Fixtures Conserve Water and Grow Savings

Friday, June 22, 2012

The trend of increasingly efficient toilets started in the early 90s, when the United States Congress passed the Energy Policy Act of 1992. This act mandated that manufacturers produce low-flow toilets by 1994. This first generation of efficiency toilets could use only 1.6 gallons per flush (gpf) versus the previous standard of 3.4 gpf. The initial versions of the low-flow toilets had complications that made them undesirable to some consumers. Manufacturers took these issues and evolved the low-flow toilet into the high efficiency toilets (HETs) of today.

HETs have seen a significant boost in popularity as the green building trend, the need for water conservation and the need to conserve funds in an uncertain economy have increased during recent years. Today’s HETs must only use 1.3 gpf or less to qualify as high efficiency. There are also a variety of forms of HETs including single flush, dual flush or assisted flush. Single-flush HETs use the same amount of water for all types of waste, while dual-flush HETs allow the user to manually select the appropriate water required for the type of waste. Dual-flush HETs are part of the WaterSense program run by the Environmental Protection Agency, which promotes water conservation. Assisted HETs may be power-assisted, pump-assisted or vacuum-assisted, which means it receives assistance beyond just water to move material from the bowl.

Another branch off of the low-flow toilet is in water-efficient urinals. Some urinals today have been designed to use less than 1 gpf or even as low as one pint per flush. Manufacturers have managed to take this even further by developing waterless urinals. The key to waterless urinals is correct installation and maintenance to prevent hygiene issues.

How do commercial facilities benefit from efficient toilets and urinals? According to, water and wastewater costs are rising faster than the cost of living due to inflation. This trend is expected to continue for the foreseeable future. This means that commercial facilities will need to take measures to conserve water in order to maintain a manageable water and wastewater costs. Installing HETs and water-efficient urinals supports efforts for corporate social responsibility. To see an example of potential savings from installing HETs and water-efficient urinals, click here.

For more information about HETs, water-efficient urinals and water conservation, visit the WaterSense program or