Because of escalating costs and clear environmental problems most of us are aware of conserving fuel. Getting water wise is as important as being smart about fuel conservation. Using water may not be as environmentally damaging, but water refinement and sewage management still uses energy. Conserving water in the home is built into contemporary eco design, with various wa ter saving strategies you can incorporate into your green home, for example, water efficient toilets a.k.a. dual flush toilets.

Dual flush toilets can make you significant water savings as well as saving on your household bills. In an average household, the water used for flushing the toilet makes up about one third or more of the typical total domestic water consumption. Billions of liters of fresh water go down the pan each year.

Traditional toilet cisterns that have only one flush option use approximately 13 liters per flush, although the capacity in newer homes and installataions (after 1986) may be lower. Around the world many countries have introduced an industry standard for new installations that is significantly less. Dual flush toilets have proved the most intelligent solution. They use a simple but ingenious flush system, typically a push button divided into two, or sometimes a sensor mechanism. This gives the user the option of a low level or a full flush, as appropriate.

Water efficient toilets with dual flush operation can more than double efficiency, using only about 6 liters per full flush  and about 4 liters for a low level flush. That’s a real saving of more than a gallon and a half of water. If a family flushes on average 5000 times a year this eco design advance can save you money and make a real environmental difference.

Though they’ve been around for a while, dual flush toilets do have one disadvantage over traditional toilets. The valve (a ‘drop valve’) is prone to leakage, which simply cannot happen with siphon cisterns. The problem can be incorrect initial installation or simple wear and tear over time. This flaw has caused some concern, and is being addressed by eco design experts. Siphon versions water efficient tolets are available, as are leak detection devices.

Dual flush toilets are the best choice if you are replacing an older-style toilet. In the interim, home-made measures can be resorted to, like weighted plastic bottles placed in the cistern to displace the water and reduce the amount of water used in a cistern refill. For maximum water efficiency the composting toilet is the perfect solution, since the waste can be recycled as fertilizer. However these are not always practical and are not the average consumer’s first choice in eco design.

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