Low-Flow Water Fixtures Make Sense for Your Office Building
Water conservation and utility cost savings often go hand-in-hand, especially in an office building where daily water usage can be substantial. Toilets, faucets, sinks and other fixtures consume many gallons of water each day. One of the best ways to curb water usage in an office environment is by using low-flow water fixtures. These devices reduce the amount of water necessary for day-to-day functions while still providing plenty of water to get the job done. The following information can help you choose low-flow water fixtures that will work best for your office applications.
Toilets are probably the main source of water usage in an office building, accounting for 20 gallons of water or more per day per person. While these fixtures are vital, of course, low-flow options are available that can substantially reduce the amount of water they use.
- High-efficiency toilets (HETs): High-efficiency toilets are designed to use substantially less water while still providing effective waste removal. The efficiency of a toilet is based on how well it removes waste with only one flush; water is not conserved if it takes more than one flush to clear the toilet. High-efficiency toilets are often tested and certified by organizations such as the National Association of Home Builders or the U.S. government’s WaterSense program. They can also be tested and certified through standards such as Maximum Performance (MaP). HET fixtures typically use about 1.3 gallons per flush (gpf), which is 20 percent less than the standard 1.6 gpf.
- Dual-flush toilets: Dual-flush toilets provide two options for flushing, one designed to remove liquid waste and the other that removes solid waste. The liquid waste option uses less water than the solid waste option, usually 0.8 to 1.1 gpf for flushing liquid waste and 1.3 to 1.6 gpf for flushing solid waste. Overall, dual-flush toilets can reduce water usage as much as 30 percent over standard models.
- Pressure-assist toilets: Pressure-assist toilets are equipped with a pressurization system that helps push water and waste down the drain. These types of toilets generally use 0.8 to 1.0 gallons per flush.
Waterless or no-flush urinals are a relatively new type of low-flow water fixtures, but they are finding increased use in both commercial and residential applications. They require no water at all. Urine flows down by gravity and through a sealing liquid, often common vegetable oil. The higher-density urine sinks below the oil and is drained away. Odors are trapped under the oil and cannot escape into the air. Waterless urinals continue to gain in popularity, particularly in communities where water conservation is a significant issue because of droughts or limited rainfall. They are more hygienic than standard models since they have no handles to touch. They are also easier to keep clean and functional since there are no mechanical components.
- Touchless faucets: Touchless faucets do not have handles for turning them off and on. Instead, they sense when hands are placed beneath them and automatically start the flow of water. When hands are taken away, the water flow automatically stops. Touchless faucet models remove the possibility of a faucet being left on, accidentally or deliberately, to run continually and waste water. They are also considered more hygienic since they have no handles.
- Low-flow aerators: Existing faucets can be equipped with low-flow aerators that reduce the amount of water coming out of the faucet. These aerators can cut water use by up to 75 percent. The most common models provide 0.5 gallons per minute (gpm) of water flow for hand sinks and 1.5 gpm of flow for kitchen sinks.
Our goal is to help educate our customers about Plumbing, HVACR, Fire Protection and Alarm Systems in Mechanical, Commercial and Residential settings. For more information on low-flow water fixtures and how they can help you conserve water and save on your monthly utility bills, and to view projects we’ve worked on, visit our website!