Anyone who has traveled a lot over the years has accumulated their own share of toilet stories. Flushing on an airplane while at 35,000 feet is always an adventure. That loud sucking sound is due to the powered vacuum that sucks the contents out of the toilet—very efficient from a water use standpoint. I once stayed in a hotel room that had a pressure-assist toilet. When I flushed the thing, I just about jumped out of my shoes because of the loud noise—a flashback to my most recent airplane experience. Pressure-assist toilets “push” waste out. Like every traveler, most of the time I have experienced the old-fashioned gravity-assist toilet that, as it states, uses the gravity of the water falling from the tank to take the waste out. I have had many experiences of these toilets leaking thanks to something going wrong inside the tank—usually a bad flapper. Leaking toilets = profits going literally down the drain. Finally, and it has been rare in a hotel, I have encountered the dual-flush toilet—either or both buttons resulting in a water-saving flush.
For an article this past week I spoke with Michael Campbell, Director of Business Development at Niagara Conservation Corp. about toilets. His company offers a selection of toilets that use just .8 gallons per flush (gpf). The current federal standard in the U.S. is 1.6 gpf. He offered some helpful history on toilets, explained how their efficiency is measured, and pointed me to Niagara’s website where there is a water savings calculator. Be sure to read my article.
The next time you are shopping for new toilets for your property, consider a .8 gpf model. The EPA’s WaterSense site lists 73 models that use .8 gpf. If you choose a .8 gpf you can expect to use a lot less water and save a significant amount of money. The Niagara website includes a case study on a Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites in Surprise, Ariz. That property replaced its 3.5 gpf toilets with 115 .8 gpf toilets, resulting in a savings of $8,000 in 35 days. Since the installation, the hotel is using 55 percent less water than with the previous toilets.
The less water used, the more apt you are to be skeptical about the flush taking care of its task. That is why I highly recommend installing and sampling the model you are considering using in one room at your hotel.
Where a Toilet is on the MaP
One of the most important things you are going to want to know when looking for a toilet is its MaP score. A voluntary program, a MaP score represents the number of grams of solid waste (soybean paste and toilet paper) that a particular toilet can flush and remove completely from the fixture in a single flush. MaP Testing is an independent testing program not affiliated with nor controlled by any manufacturer or group. One can rank toilets on the MaP website by their scores. To date, over 4,500 different tank-type toilet models have been tested, over 4,300 of which are reported in this public database. In addition, another 565 flushometer bowl/valve combinations have been MaP tested. Results are reported here. Toilets highly recommended score in the range of 600 to 1,000 grams. Campbell says Niagara’s .8 gpf toilets can handle 1,000 grams of waste.
Also be on the lookout for rebate programs. “The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 is being filtered down to local municipalities in the form of rebates,” Campbell told me. On the EPA WaterSense website there is also a database of rebate programs available in the U.S.
Chosen wisely, toilets can be a very important part of your water conservation efforts—all while keeping you and your guests happy—and take you quickly toward your water conservation goal.
Got a travel toilet experience to share? From your own property or personal travels? I would love to learn about it. Write to email@example.com.
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