All toilets and most showerheads today meet the federal water-efficiency standards, but not all of these products perform satisfactorily. With toilets and showerheads, we include products that meet or exceed WaterSense standards, which includes performance requirements—although we go beyond WaterSense where there are issues not adequately addressed by the program. We also look for other products that conserve potable water, such as rainwater catchment and graywater recovery and reuse systems.
While resilience—the ability to weather natural disasters and maintain livable conditions in the aftermath of disruptive events—is mostly an issue of building design and community preparedness, certain products can help. For example, almost all heating systems require electricity to operate even if their primary fuel is oil, gas, or wood pellets; systems that allow operation even if grid electricity is not available are more resilient in the event of power outages. Rainwater harvesting, water storage, composting toilets, and waterless urinals contribute to resilience not only in drought-prone areas but also during power outages in any home dependent on well water. Solar water heating systems that can operate without utility power, and back-up power systems that are more energy-efficient than standard generators, may have this attribute.
The Waterless-brand Baja residential urinal is smaller than the company’s commercial urinal but works on the same principle. It uses the company's EcoTrap system that employs a lighter-than-urine, plant-based oil (BlueSeal) that serves as the sanitary trap. The BlueSeal fluid is topped off as needed, and the entire trap is replaced about 2–4 per year, depending on usage. Because the urinal dries out between uses, waterless urinals are actually more sanitary than conventional urinals, according to the Waterless Company and other manufacturers. The unit is made of vitreous china for easy cleaning.
Read more on this product in "BuildingGreen's Product of the Week"
Compared with the federal-standard 1.0 gallon per flush, a single non-water-using urinal can save over 10,000 gallons of water per year (depending on the number of males in the building); when older 3 gpf urinals are replaced, the savings can be as great as 50,000 gallons per year.
It is rare to see urinals made in residential settings, so we don't list many products here, but by offering a water-saving option, they can offer water-efficiency benefits, which may be particularly important in locations where water efficiency is very important.
Products listed here are waterless or low-water-use urinals for residential use.
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