Guide

Save water at commercial premises

Reduce water use from toilets

Flushing toilets can be a major cause of water wastage within your business. An office fitted with nine-litre toilet cisterns that serve 100 staff could save over £500 a year in water and sewerage costs.

There are a number of technologies that your business could consider to reduce the water used by toilets.

Siphon mechanisms are fast, easy to fit and can deliver very low flush levels of around 4.5 litres. However, they do cause the cistern to refill slowly, so you should make sure they meet the needs of your business.

As the cheapest option, many businesses opt for a drop valve mechanism to control the cistern flow in their toilets. These systems are ideal for high frequency use, but they do suffer from leakage and may require regular maintenance to remove scale deposits.

The toilet flush can be controlled accurately by using a siphon mechanism with an air valve fitted to the siphon. As a very low cost option, variable flush technology can offer major water savings, as flushes can be as low as four litres of water. However, the technology is not very robust and overall savings can be highly variable.

Dual flushing gives the user a choice of two flush volumes and can now be fitted to cisterns installed before 1999.

Adjusting the position of the ball float can control the water level in the cistern. This could save one litre of water per flush. Your business will, however, have to regularly check that the ball float is in the correct position.

Cistern volume adjusters use a bag - often referred to as a 'Hippo' or 'save-a-flush' bag - that fits into the cistern of the toilet. These bags are also sometimes referred to as cistern displacement devices.

A cistern dam partitions the cistern with a flexible synthetic material to reduce the overall water use with each flush. This technology is cheap and easy to fit.

You could potentially save up to half a litre of water per flush with a delayed action inlet valve. The system can be retrofitted to the cisterns of most toilets. Your business would need to make regular checks to ensure the delay period is correct.

Tax breaks for water efficient equipment

Many of the technologies your business could employ to reduce the amount of water it uses to flush its toilets may be eligible for tax allowances under the Enhanced Capital Allowance (ECA) scheme - see first-year allowances for water efficient technologies.