Many people may be surprised to learn that the old ways of flushing toilets and urinals are literally being flushed away. In an effort to conserve water, new technologies have been introduced that reduce the amount of water necessary to flush a toilet or urinal while still keeping restrooms sanitary and odor free.
One of the most popular systems is the dual-flush toilet. Very common in Europe and parts of Asia, dual-flush systems are now finding their way into restrooms throughout North America. As you might suspect, these toilets release larger amounts of water to flush solid waste and smaller amounts to flush away liquid waste. The result is that they can reduce overall water consumption of a traditional toilet from 1.6 gallons of water per flush to about 1.2 gallons. While this reduction might appear small, when you consider there are between 300 and 500 million toilets in the U.S., that 0.4 of a gallon adds up pretty fast.
Sensory controlled faucets, toilets, and urinals are commonplace today. These systems were developed for two key reasons. First, many users do not reliably flush after every use, creating hygiene concerns. Second, sensor-activated fixtures do not require the user to touch the fixture and are designed to operate after every use. Some manufacturers of these systems also say they can help conserve water because the amount of water released can be programmed and there is less chance of a malfunction, resulting in water running continually. However, some studies contradict this believe.
Another type of flushing system now available requires no flushing whatsoever. No-water or waterless urinals have no flush valves, require no water to be piped to them, and work completely without water. By gravit, urine moves down the urinal. As it collects it is released into plumbing that delivers to the sewer system. An trap/cylinder at the bottom of the urinal keeps sewer and other odors from being released into the air.
They typically save as much as 40,000 gallons of water annually. Installed directly over the footprint of a traditional water-using urinal, they are easy and inexpensive to install.