In our June 2009 issue, we'll be running a concept feature that turns the taboo topic of toilets into a fascinating exploration of design solutions for addressing global sanitation and water crises. With the subject swirling around the office, it was timely to see a remark on Twitter from our friend, Eric Corey Freed, that the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California is offering free waterless urinals for buildings that want to do water-saving green retrofits.
Falcon Waterfree Technologies, the company behind this free offer, specializes in waterless urinals and has installed hundreds of thousands of them around the world. According to their website, "As much as 5% of fresh water consumed is currently used to carry away urine. Each Falcon Waterfree urinal typically saves an average of 40,000 gallons (151,000 liters) of fresh water per year."
This follows a trend of incentive-based sustainability initiatives that have sprung up recently, including rebates for replacing old fuel-inefficient cars and special offers for trading in energy-sucking appliances for Energy Star models. While the urinal tends to be a more common need in commercial and institutional settings than residential, it wouldn't hurt to think about strategies for getting a more conservative flush at home. Be sure to read the June 2009 Dwell for more on toilet design from former editor and toilet designer, Virginia Gardiner.
Image, Creative Commons from Cade