April 1, 2008
H20: <b>S</b>, M, L—Efficient Plumbing
The dual-flush system is an idea whose time has come.
If the idea of designer toilets strikes you as somewhat absurd—well, this is the world we’re living in. Fortunately, the super-high-end toilet market is not just about the sleekest or most sculptural place to park your ass. Often, manufacturers of luxury bathroom products are also leading the way in water efficiency. A case in point: the marketing partnership between bathroom supplier Duravit and Geberit, a global provider of plumbing and plastics technology.
Duravit’s wall-mounted toilets use Geberit’s concealed tank and gravity-fed carrier system—a slim-profile unit that fits into the wall behind the toilet bowl. For minimalists this is a boon, reducing the commode from a bulky porcelain eyesore to a pristine floating ornament. But environmentalists will be more impressed by the dual-flush system, which provides the option of a .8-gallon or a 1.6-gallon flush. Without getting too specific, the idea is that not every bathroom visit requires the full 1.6 gallons. “This is the most stupid way of wasting water,” Geberit North America’s CEO, Andreas Nowak, says. “If you’re watering your lawn, at least you get some nice flowers. Even if you wash your car, it’s getting cleaner.”
By contrast, large-volume flushes are quite lit-erally sending extra water down the drain. Providing a low-volume option is a simple and sensible solution—one that most of Europe caught on to decades ago. Here’s hoping that the adoption of dual-flush systems in the high-end toilet market has a, um, trickle-down effect on the rest of America’s bathrooms