NATIONAL REPORT—Every new Home2 Suites by Hilton will have them. The Hyatt at Olive 8 in Seattle has them. So does the Nines hotel in Portland, Ore., the Bardessono in Yountville, Calif., the Hotel Terra in Jackson Hole, Wyo., and many other properties. What are they? Dual flush toilets. These highly efficient cousins to standard toilets increasingly are being selected for new construction and renovation projects. Just entering the U.S. lodging market in the last few years, they have been used in Australia, Asia and Europe for more than 20 years and are becoming more common in Canada and Mexico. The toilets, which give users the option of two different flush modes—one for solid waste and one for liquid—can easily slash water consumption by 20 to more than 80 percent, depending on the tank size of the model being replaced.
Hoteliers need not sacrifice performance or style when choosing dual flush toilets. Trapways are larger—preventing clogging—and the toilets come in many styles for both guestrooms and public restroom areas. The fact that these are being selected for luxury hotels is proof that the lodging industry has reached a comfort level with them. Numerous well-known vendors sell dual flush toilets and at least two companies currently sell kits to enable one to convert a standard toilet to a dual flush version. According to vendors who sell dual flush toilets, there is no significant price difference when compared to single flush toilets.
There are two basic systems used with dual flush toilets: washdown and siphonic. According to Rob Zimmerman, senior staff engineer with Kohler Co., with a washdown system, once the toilet is flushed, the water leaves the tank, flows straight down, floods the bowl and pushes the waste down the drain.
“You don’t get the swirling action,” he says.
Potential Cleaning Challenge
With some dual flush toilets that use a washdown technique, “marking” can be an issue when solid waste is not totally removed. Most dual flush toilets have a smaller “water spot”—the total water area surface in the bowl—than a standard toilet. This can increase splashing with washdown systems. With a siphonic system, more water is initially diverted to the rim of the bowl to create more push action. Dual flush toilets using a siphonic design can use a water spot the size found in standard toilets.
“With a larger water spot, there is less staining,” says James Walsh, director of chinaware for American Standard Brands.
Here is a summary of what some of the leading suppliers are currently offering:
Caroma—This company’s Sydney Smart 270 toilet, a dual flush model using 1.28 gallons per flush (gpf) for solid waste and 0.8 gallons for liquid and paper waste, averages only 0.90 gallons based on a 1:4 full/half flush ratio. The toilet offers more than a 74 percent water savings when compared with 3.5 gpf toilets. Caroma developed the two-button dual flush system more than 25 years ago. The Sydney Smart is WaterSense labeled and, according to Caroma, is the first 1.28/0.8 gpf dual flush toilet in North America. Earlier this summer, Caroma introduced its Profile Smart high efficiency toilet (HET) with an integrated sink in the tank lid. When the Profile Smart is flushed, fresh cold water is directed through the faucet for hand washing. This water then drains into the tank to be used for the next flush. Caroma offers many other dual flush models.
Maxwell Dual Flush from Gerber
Gerber Plumbing Fixtures—Gerber’s Maxwell Dual Flush is designed in an elongated front bowl, round front or ErgoHeight model, and comes with a two-button actuator to identify between the 1.1 and 1.6 gpf flushing options. The Maxwell toilet is engineered with a large water surface and Gerber’s syphonic front jet flushing action cleans the bowl with a single flush. In addition, a fully glazed trapway contributes to this unit’s flush performance. Gerber’s Maxwell Dual flush HET is offered in white and biscuit color options with 10-inch and 12-inch rough-ins.
TOTO USA—TOTO’s Aquia Dual flush, two-piece toilet features an elongated skirted design, Dual-Max Flushing System, and push button style flush option. It offers the options of a 1.6 gallon or 0.9 gallon flush.
American Standard Brands—This company’s H2Option two piece dual flush toilet is available in a variety of options, including Right Height Elongated, Elongated and Round Front. Colors include white, bone and linen. H2Option is a siphonic dual flush toilet, with strong push and pull action created by forceful jetted action under the rim.
Kohler Co.—Like other models on the market, Kohler’s dual flush toilets include a two-button actuator to allow users to choose either a 1.6- or .8-gallon flush option. Kohler offers a number of different one- and two-piece styles with names ranging from the Saile to Escale.
Sloan Valve Co.—Sloan’s Uppercut Dual Flush Flushometer gives users two flush options: Tilt the handle up for liquid waste, which saves about half a gallon per flush, or push the handle down for a standard 1.6-gallon flush for solid waste. The green handle on the Flushometer features an antimicrobial coating for protection against germs. Sloan offers an Uppercut Dual flush Handle retrofit kit, which can be fitted onto manual Sloan Flushometers. The company also sells Flushometers with Smart Sense Technology. Sensors select the correct flush cycle based on how long the user remains in sensor range, according to Jim Allen, president and CEO of Sloan Valve. Solar powered Flushometers (Sloan SOLIS Flushometers) are also available from Sloan.
Retrofit Kits Also Available
Great Eco Solutions—For those not ready to replace standard toilets with dual flush models, Great Eco Solutions offers the Save A Flush Dual Flush Retrofit Toilet Valve Kit. The kit provides a way to convert a two-piece style toilet to a dual flush version. The kit replaces a toilet handle with a two-piece handle—one green for liquid waste and the other red for solid waste. According to Alberto Dorfler, one of the owners of Great Eco Solutions, Save A Flush helps keep aging toilets out of landfills. The company offers a signage program to help communicate the water-saving program to guests.
MJSI Inc.—Like Great Eco Solutions, MJSI offers a product to convert a single flush toilet to dual flush. The HydroRight Dual Flush Converter, according to MJSI, installs in about five to 10 minutes and works with all standard flush valves. A two-button “handle” replaces the standard flush handle.
Prior to July 2007, the Holiday Inn Select located near the San Antonio airport in Texas had 3.5-gallon-per-flush toilets installed in 397 guestrooms. Caroma Sydney 270 elongated toilets were chosen to replace the older toilets. When comparing water consumption during the first 11 months of 2006 to the same time period in 2008, the hotel experienced a 31 percent reduction in water consumption.
Also be sure to check out Briggs Industries.
For more advice on what to look for when purchasing dual flush toilets, click here to read the editor’s latest column.
Glenn Hasek can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org