Friday, November 10, 2006

Going Green - Waterless Urinals

. Friday, November 10, 2006

I am starting a new feature at Rabbit Ramblings and will talk about some neat "green" products that are out there in the marketplace. Hopefully you will see more and more of them while you're out and about.

Today's topic is "Waterless Urinals".

How does it work?

The cartridge is shaped to act as a funnel. The combination of non-stick, non-porous materials of construction and the funnel-shape of the cartridge ensure all urine passes into the cartridge and through a unique sealant liquid that floats on top of the liquid beneath it. This pleasant smelling sealant liquid provides an airtight barrier between urine and the restroom to prevent odors from escaping the drain, but allows urine to pass through because it is lighter than water. Urine immediately penetrates the sealant liquid and flows to the drain. Uric sediment is collected by the cartridge, leaving an odor-free environment, clean pipes and absolutely no water waste. The cartridge also features a sealing ring to provide an airtight barrier between the cartridge and the housing. The only maintenance required is routine cleaning of the fixture and an easy change of the cartridge, performed approximately three to four times per year.

Click HERE and press "PLAY" to see a Shockwave video clip of a waterless urinal in action.

Using water to dispose of water makes no economic sense, particularly in a world facing a very limited supply of readily available fresh water. Waterless urinals save in three important ways:

1. Purchase Price: Falcon systems are less expensive to purchase and install than flush urinals because they have no flushing mechanism. All that is required is a drainage outlet, typically less than an hour to install, and seconds to install the cartridge.

2. Operating Costs: save 100% of the water going through urinals and 100% of water and sewer charges—both of which will certainly rise in the future.

3. Maintenance Costs: reduce maintenance to a periodic changing of the cartridge and quick cleanup as with traditional urinals. Eliminate costs associated with stuck or broken valves from normal wear and vandalism. Reduce pipe cleaning since lines remain free of calcification as no hard water is running through them. Reduce energy costs associated with transporting water to and from urinals.

Environmental benefits:

As much as 5% of fresh water consumed is currently used to carry away urine. Each Waterless urinal typically saves 40,000 gallons (151,000 liters) of fresh water per year. This water does not need to be transported to the urinal or away from it to the water treatment facility, saving energy. No energy need be used to treat this water, nor does it produce carbon dioxide emissions as a byproduct of its treatment. Finally, by reducing the load on treatment plants, the system can reduce the need for costly water treatment capacity and reduce the incidence of overflow events at treatment facilities.

Waterless urinals create more hygienic restrooms for two reasons:

• First, they are touch-free so there is little chance of bacteria transfer possible with manual flush systems.

• Second, since there is no water used there is no breeding ground for bacteria. In several studies, bacteria counts in restrooms with waterless urinals were significantly lower than those with manual or auto-flush urinals. Waterless urinals create more pleasant restrooms because they eliminate the ammonia odor caused when urine reacts with water to cause ammonia oxide. No water means no reaction. Next, remember that the sealant liquid in the cartridge is lighter than water and creates an airtight seal, so the urine passes through it and becomes trapped beneath it.


Kim said...

Will there be a test on this?

Boo said...

Yes. This might be a "pie-in-the-sky" idea but if the public is made more aware of the true nuts and bolts of "green" design and its value to the environment and our pocketbooks, that people will demand that these design concepts be incorporated into our schools, office buildings, and residences. I really do feel that this is one small way to "educate" the public.

Kim said...

We have them in our public library here. Cool.

Anonymous said...

I think it's great but it lets individuals off the hook. The public has been "educated" for decades and they haven't gotten off of their fat lazy air-conditioned bums to walk to the mailbox. Americans want convenience above all else, and if the freezer section in your grocery store chain doesn't have those pesky sliding glass DOORS keeping them from their saralee, then by golly they're willing to pay extra for a grocery store chain that puts the customers first!

~newt, ranting

Anonymous said...

Also we're going to see "Flushed Away" this weekend in a newly remodeled air-conditioned theater with stadium seating and armrests that can hold our extra-huge soda while we share a bucket of popcorn, so I include myself in that fat-american-me-first cohort.


Boo said...

I don't understand your first post, Newt. How does it let the public off the hook? I think the side benefit of better hygeine would be a good selling point for a lot of people. We would no longer have to touch the flush handle and get our hands all germy.

Anonymous said...

Boo what I mean is if people think that companies are going green, it means they don't have to, they can keep doing what they're doing. As individuals we consume and consume and consume, it's great that some new buildings have a few green features, but there are 300 million of us pissing away the planet's resources every bloody day. Our entire economy relies on it --- consumer products are literally designed to break down so they'll have to be tossed out and bought again.



Boo said...

I think things will slowly spread into the residential market as well - lower flow toilet fixtures, low-VOC paints and carpets, FSC certified wood, rapidly renewable materials. I think that as more people see green design in school, office buildings, etc they will be more accepting of incorporating these ideas into their own home.

For example, when it comes time to replace our hardwood floors, I would like to replace them with bamboo - a rapidly renewable resource.

More and more of our clients are asking about having their project being LEED certified or at least incorporating sustainable design principles into their building.

Anonymous said...

Agreed, just one question:

why would it ever become time to replace your hardwood floors? They're hardwood. They'll last hundreds of years with practically no maintenance.


Boo said...

Mine are in kind if rough shape. I'm sure they could also be refinished but there are several areas where some of the boards are chipped and there are areas where you can see the underlying floor joists. I'm sure they put some cheap as shit hardwood floors in when they built the house. It'll probably be several years before we have the funds to do that work (bamboo floors).

Friday's Child said...

Lower flush toilets are a PITA. I have one and you sometimes have to flush it more than once, thus defeating the purpose. I think Massachusetts has a state code that if you are replacing a toilet you must use one of these, there is a black market there for the "good ole toilets"!

Boo said...

They have new toilets now that you flush up for pee (and use less water) and flush down for poop (uses the standard 1.6 gallons/flush). I hear what you're saying about low-flush toilets having a bad reputation. They're improving upon them though. You wouldn't believe the research and testing that goes into how well a toilet flushes.

Clo said...

Ah very nice to see you are thinking "green" Boo ! I think american ppl are too much spoiled with A/C etc and they never think (maybe only some like you and the Chief) that the planet is very sick ! Ecology is very important. I hope your new congress'll think about that among other important things. Like we say in french "the little rivulets make the big rivers".