What water-saving toilet options are available?

Did you know that 27 percent of indoor water use is being flushed down the toilet each day, literally? That’s right, a quarter of our indoor water consumption is fueled by toilets alone. Standard toilets in many homes use 1.6 gallons per flush (GPF), while older toilets can use as much as 3.5 to 7 GPF.

High-efficiency toilets help curb indoor water consumption, and use at least 20 percent less water than 1.6 GPF models.

There are a variety of water-saving toilet options available, such as pressure-assist toilets that use as little as 1.0 GPF, dualflush toilets, which offer two flush volumes, or gravity flush toilets that consume 1.28 GPF.

Choose a model with a WaterSense label, which will, on average, save more than $90 per year in reduced water utility bills and $2,000 over its lifetime. Or look for models that have been tested through third-party maximum performance testing, or MaP. Look for MaP test results of 350 grams or higher.

Incinerating toilets are a less popular, yet water-saving option. They’re ideal if you live in a remote location where the ability or cost of getting utilities, especially plumbed water, is difficult. According to manufacturer EcoJohn, incinerating toilets come in two capacities, for four or 8–10 people. The larger capacity version is meant for residential and smaller commercial applications, such as oil rigs, construction sites, camps, military needs, refugee camps, disaster relief, houseboats and so on. Check with your local municipality before making the plunge, since not all communities have building codes that allow for incinerating toilets.

Composting toilets may also be an option for major addition projects. Review BuildingGreen’s composting toilet reviews, and check out these 15 tips before you purchase a toilet.