Save water at commercial premises

Reduce water use from urinals


Urinals can be a major source of wasted water as they typically flush even when they are not being used. An uncontrolled flush can waste around 200-300 cubic metres of water per year.

There are a number of technologies that your business could consider to reduce the water that is wasted from flushing urinals.

Efficient urinal technologies

You can use a hydraulic valve to control the frequency of urinal flushing. This system operates on the water inlet pipework. The valve detects when water is being used elsewhere in the washroom, triggering the valve to open and flush the urinals. When no other water is being used the valve stays closed.

Passive infrared sensors detect when someone enters the washroom. The sensor controls a solenoid valve that allows a pre-set amount of water into the cistern. When the cistern is full, it will flush the urinal.

If the working hours at your premises are highly predictable, you can control the urinal flush with a manual quarter-turn ball valve. At the end of the working day this valve can be turned to stop flushing taking place.

You can add a timer to the flush valve. This technology is more reliable than manual turn-off as it does not rely on someone remembering to shut off the cistern valve at the end of each working day.

You can adjust the amount of water that a urinal uses with a number of different devices. A cistern volume adjuster is available in a variety of designs, including a device that works by retaining a proportion of the cistern water behind a dam.

Waterless urinals

There are currently two types of waterless urinals available:

  • Siphonic traps contain a barrier that is inserted into the urinal bowl that the urine passes through to the drain. These types of waterless urinals require specialist cleaning and the replacement of the barrier fluid every one to two weeks depending on use.
  • Deodorising pads are devices that use a pad impregnated with a deodorising chemical inserted into the S bend. Depending on use, the pad may require replacing once a week.

Tax breaks for water efficient equipment

Many of the technologies your business could employ to reduce the amount of water used by urinals may be eligible for tax allowances under the Enhanced Capital Allowance (ECA) scheme - see Enhanced Capital Allowances for efficient technologies.