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Low Flow and Dual Flush Alternatives

May 11, 2010

Ulaa, Patagonia, Chile

According to the American Water Works Association, the average daily indoor water use per person is just under 70 gallons. The top three water guzzlers are toilets (26.7%), clothes washing machines (21.7%), and showers (16.8%). Two easy ways to conserve water (and save money!) in the bathroom are by installing low flow or dual flush toilets and low flow shower heads.

Designing a new hotel? This is a great opportunity to start out right with money saving and water conserving appliances in the bathroom. Got an established hotel? Start replacing your current toilets and shower heads. It requires an initial investment, but in the long run you’ll save money. And water.

We’ve all heard of low flow toilets, haven’t we? Terry Love of LOVE Plumbing & Remodel in the Seattle area produces an excellent review of low flow toilets. He’s got a quote on his review site from George Whalen that says: “Switching to water-efficient plumbing fixtures could save the average household as much as $50 to $100 [USD] a year on water and wastewater bills.”

Multiply that by the number of rooms you have in your hotel. Does that sound good? And all that as you save water. Old toilets consume as much as 7 gallons per flush (GPF). The newer low flow toilets consume as little as 1.6 GPF. Do the math. That’s a lot less water. You don’t need a composting toilet to make your hotel greener.

An even better option for toilets is the dual flush system, also mentioned in the Love review. These toilets use either .8 or 1.6 GPF, depending on the waste that needs to go down the drain. It’s estimated that these toilets can save 67% more water than 1.6 GPF single flush toilets.

Moving on to shower heads…older shower heads can use as much as 4 gallons per minute (GPM) of water. The newer low flow heads use between .5 and 2 GPM. Again, it doesn’t take long to calculate water savings. A five minute shower with a 4 GPM head will consume 20 gallons of water. The same shower with a .5 GPM head will consume just 2.5 gallons. That’s a major difference.

Next, multiply that by the average number of guests you have each year in your hotel. Let’s say you have a year-round average of 100 guests per day, your hotel is open 365 days each year, and let’s assume each guest showers once a day. The 4 GPM heads will consume 730,000 gallons per year. The .5 GPM heads will consume just 91,250 gallons. That’s a difference of 638,750 gallons each year.

Impressed? Metaefficient has a great review of low flow shower heads. This is a quick and easy change for any hotel, and it produces excellent water savings.

Do you have low flow or dual flush toilets in your hotel? How about your home? And what about low flow shower heads? Are there any brands that you recommend?

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. June 3, 2010 02:14

    Hey, you know what else works to save water? Laziness: Unless I’ve been sweating profusely, I shower only every other day. Ha.

    I’ve also read about placing plastic bottles filled with water inside toilets’ water tanks (except when they’re behind walls, of course). You can reduce the amount of water used per flush remarkably that way! However, this may not be the ideal way to go with hotel bathrooms, but it’s a good way for newbies to start at home. (You’ve got to begin somewhere, right?)

    Just to clarify: I agree that your suggestions are the best options out there!

  2. June 4, 2010 19:05

    It’s actually probably even better for your skin to shower every other day. This is probably TMI for this blog, but if I don’t go to the gym, I don’t shower either. Which means Sundays are generally no-shower days.

    I’ve also heard about using bottles and even bricks in toilet tanks. I did add a bottle to the gigantic tank in my previous apartment’s toilet. Oops, it was inside the wall. It did seem to work, though. That toilet had an enormous tank, and it literally splashed all over when flushing, it was so strong. But, that was back when I used the “if it’s yellow let it mellow” rule because I lived alone. Again, sorry if this little detail was TMI.


  1. Dual Flush Toilets, A Revelation « EcoHotelology

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