Add: We are redoing our ensuite bathroom (Feb. 2016) and have discovered that the dual flush toilet that we like so much has been discontinued. Damn. I use the dual flush now and I guess I will simply keep using it in the future. Our new toilet for the ensuite will be low-flow but not dual flush. I was not impressed with the newest dual flush models.
On our visit to Europe some years ago my wife and I were impressed with the continental bathrooms. O.K., we liked the art and architecture, too, but to a green nut the bathrooms were really memorable.
The European toilets invariably offered two flush modes: one for liquid waste and a second, larger flush, for solid material. The showers had low-flow heads and were often in the corner of a fully-tiled bathroom. There were no glass enclosures to become soap-scum stained and no shower curtains to harbour mould. You were expected use your head and aim the low-flow handheld shower away from the centre of the bathroom. This simple act prevented water from spraying wildly into the room. Of course, there was always a large drain in the tiled floor.
When we redid our bathroom recently, I tried to imitate the green Europeans. I won my battle over the toilet, it’s dual flush, and all the water fixtures are low-flow but I had to accept a shower door and a bathtub. My wife is a traditionalist, bathrooms must have bathtubs; the plumber agreed. The plumber also nixed the idea of a shower without an enclosure and his simple glass wall approach wowed my wife.
Before deciding on a dual flush toilet I did some research. According to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, CMHC, in most homes toilets account for 30 percent of the total indoor water usage. I learned that CMHC partnered in the study “Maximum Performance Testing of Popular Water-Efficient Toilet Models (MaP)”. This study, using a soybean paste product, has tested about 730 different toilet models and published the findings.
Based on the MaP findings and ready availability, we chose the American Standard Dual Flush HET FloWise toilet. HET stands for high efficiency toilet. This ultra-low water use toilet requires only 6 litres or 1.6 U.S. gallons of water for a full flush. The more frequently used liquid waste flush requires only half of that — 3 litres or .8 U.S. gallons of water.
The FloWise model we chose has a right height design — better for seniors — an elongated bowl and slow close seat. It performed very well in the MaP tests. Where rebates encouraging water saving are offered, this model qualifies. In Ontario, at the moment, there is a $100 rebate available. Ask your plumber about rebates and you begin saving immediately.
We went with a low-flow Moen commercial handheld shower head. With a flow rate of 1.6 U.S. gallons per minute this unit uses 30 percent less water than the industry standard. And energy costs are also reduced because of the resulting drop in hot water demand. All the voting is not in but I must confess there has been one complaint. (I can live with that.)
Our other choice for reduced-water-use-plumbing-fixtures was the Lahar Collection from Delta. These are water smart certified and quite beautiful.
If these changes cut our water usage as I much as I hope, we will try to take advantage of the government rebate programs and update the plumbing fixtures and toilet in our ensuite bathroom.
(Addendum: We just got our water bill and it is down 20.5% compared to the same period last year. I would not chalk up all the savings to our new plumbing but the new shower, dual flush toilet, and water smart fixtures have definitely played a role in cutting our water consumption.)
Hope this information has been of value,