We often forget that water has an embodied energy (all that pumping around the system and then cleaning it all up afterwards) and so it is a resource that we need to look after. But how best to do this?
One of the things that we are told to do is to reduce the amount of water going through our toilets. This is a very sensible suggestion especially for offices, businesses and other organisations (as well as for us all at home). So what is the best solution?
We need a system that is the most efficient that it can be (you only use the water that you need to use, not a fixed amount per flush)
We also need a solution that is reliable and maintenance free (i.e not a valve system)
Ideally we want a solution that does not require the replacement of the toilet furniture (so a replacement for the inner workings of the loo rather than a brand new toilet)
We also want a solution that is easy to fit without the need of a plumber (a competent DIY job in other words)
Does this ideal exist?
There are a range of replacement siphons that can easily be retrofitted into a cistern and there are also some adapters that make the toilet flush infinitely variable using the existing siphon. So the main choices are:
1. Interflush. This is a system that has a default of giving a minimal flush. Just hold down the toilet handle for as long as required to clear the pan. Easy to fit – takes about 10 minutes. Competent DIYer with a drill can fit this. Gives you a 50% saving on water use.
2. Interflush Siphon. This replaces the existing siphon / valve system with a brand new siphon. However this siphon has a patented diaphragm that should last decades, thus making this solution infinitely variable and also incredibly reliable.
3. Mecon. This system also gives an infinitely variable flush, but its default setting is for a full flush, so it still has the potential for a 50% saving, but in most situations will probably give a little less due to incorrect use.
These devices can save you a packet of money (if you are on a meter) and are expected to give full payback within a year. Not only that it is year on year carbon savings for you, your company and for all of us.