Is America Ready for a Home Urinal?
Average Rating: ( 0 votes)
The Waterless Company's new residential Baja urinal begins shipping this week. Photo: Waterless Company. Click on image to enlarge. There are some significant advantages to urinals when it comes to bathroom maintenance (I won't go into the messy det... The Baja urinal works on the same principle as other Waterless-brand urinals--using the company's EcoTrap system (see schematic). The EcoTrap uses a lighter-than-urine, plant-based oil (EcoBlue) that serves as the sanitary trap. The EcoBlue fluid is topped off as needed, and the entire trap is replaced about once per year, assuming typical usage. Because the urinal dries out between uses, waterless urinals are actually more sanitary than conventional urinals, according to the Waterless Company and other manufacturers. In commercial buildings, with typical usage patterns, a waterless urinal saves about 40,000 gallons per year. For residential applications, the savings will be significantly lower. Reichardt estimates that if there are two males in a home, each using the urinal three uses per day, times 340 days at home, the Baja urinal will replace about 2,040 toilet flushes per year, providing annual water savings of about 3,250 gallons (assuming 1.6 gpf toilets). The savings go up with more males (family members or friends). Reichardt told me that they're getting a lot of calls from diabetics who have to urinate frequently and who hate to waste all the water. While these water savings should not be dismissed, I suspect that the primary motivation for purchases--if it succeeds--will be more about sanitation and reduced cleaning needs than it is about water savings. The EcoTrap and a lighter-than-urine plant-based oil provides the sanitary trap in the Baja urinal. Photo: Waterless Company. Click on image to enlarge. I should note that waterless urinals are not without problems. We've been using one at our office for 12 years or so, and salt build-up on the drain line forced us to remove and clean out those lines once, and it's showing signs of needing that servicing again. Some argue that it's important to periodically flush a urinal to prevent the build-up of deposits, or that ultra-efficient urinals make more sense than waterless models. Clearly, regular maintenance is required to ensure good performance. The suggested retail price of the Waterless Baja urinal is $248. The product is distributed through plumbing wholesalers and the company's sales reps. For more information: Waterless Co. Vista, California 888-663-5874 www.waterless.com Alex Wilson is the executive editor of Environmental Building News and founder of BuildingGreen, LLC . In addition to this product-of-the week blog, he writes the weekly Energy Solutions blog. To keep up with his latest articles and musings, you can sign up for his Twitter feeds . Products covered in his product-of-the-week column are--or soon will be--listed in BuildingGreen's GreenSpec database. See more on this product in the GreenSpec Guide