Though most homeowners are not yet aware of the variety of flushing options now available, they are interested in saving water, experts say, as this also saves them money and reduces their homes' impact on the environment. They are not willing to compromise on performance or style, however, especially at the high end. The industry learned this lesson when the first low-flow toilets were introduced in the early 1990s to meet the then-new 1.6-gpf mandate. Consumers were disappointed by poor performance, and manufacturers were forced to redesign their toilets. Drawing on these experiences and on the research and resources developed during the past 13 years, manufacturers are now able to engineer toilets that use as little as .8 gallon of water for liquid flushes.
To prove that toilets—including HETs—subsidized by water conservation programs perform to homeowners' expectations, a collaboration of water utilities has developed a voluntary supplementary performance standard, the Uniform North American Requirements (UNAR) for Toilet Fixtures, which incorporates flush performance requirements. The EPA is getting into the game as well with its new WaterSense program, which mirrors its highly successful Energy Star program for appliances. The WaterSense program seeks to promote and increase the market for water-efficient products, such as toilets, showers, and faucets, through a voluntary labeling program. WaterSense-qualified toilets must meet a 1.28-gpf threshold along with specific design requirements and high-performance flushing requirements.
Further reductions in the water consumption of toilets past 1.28 gpf are unlikely to be mandated anytime in the near future, even if 1.28 gpf becomes mandated as the maximum usage. For now, toilets that use 1.28 gpf or less are the most water-efficient options. For clients dubious about the performance of water-conserving toilets, builders can offer Water-Sense-labeled models to ease their concerns.Vitra
The EverGreen 1.2-gallon gravity flush toilet is Water-Sense-labeled for water savings and high-performance flushing. Available in both elongated and round bowl configurations, the EverGreen 1.2 toilet offers extended-height seats to meet ADA requirements. 877.658.4872. www.vitra-usa.com.
The WaterSense-labeled FloWise toilet uses 1.28 gpf and utilizes gravity-fed Champion 4 flushing technology. Its piston-action flush valve allows 360 degrees of water to be released into the bowl in less than one second, delivering a powerful flush that cleans the bowl. 800.899.2614. www.americanstandard-us.com.
The Eco Nexus 1.28-gpf high-efficiency toilet utilizes the manufacturer's gravity-fed E-Max system to deliver quiet, high-performance flushing while using 20 percent less water than standard toilets. It features a 3-inch flush valve, a 2 1/8-inch trapway, and siphon-jet action. 800.350.8686. www.totousa.com.
The dualflush Caravelle 270 ADA elongated Washdown toilet features the manufacturer's Duoflo technology and a 4-inch trapway for high-performance flushing. The toilet seat is 17 to 19 inches high, allowing people of all abilities to use it easily. 800.460.7019. www.caromausa.com.
The San Raphael Power Lite dual-flush toilet, bearing the EPA's WaterSense label, offers 1.4-gallon and 1-gallon flush options. A .2-hp pump provides a powerful flush that is also quiet, the company says, thanks to a double seal that reduces motor noise. The toilet has a low-profile, small-tank design with an elongated bowl. 800.456.4537. www.kohler.com.