Back in the 90’s, our company’s founder was tasked with finding a way to make restrooms for the remote reaches of Lake Powell, a reservoir located in the desolate and remote headwaters leading into the Grand Canyon. The main challenge was just finding a way to make these restrooms work without any access to power, water, or sewer lines- and since these restrooms were located within a national recreation area, there were high environmental standards as well. The experience taught him that being efficient and being environmentally conscious are two concepts that work closely together.
The restrooms we build today have evolved a lot since that time, but the general connection between efficiency and environmental consciousness has remained. Today we’ll talk about the ways that our restrooms are greener than the average public restroom.
Our Restrooms are Resource Efficient
Not all of our restrooms are utility-free, but the quest to build the best utility-free restroom quickly led us to the conclusion that finding ways to make the water supply last longer was key. Many standard toilets are incredibly wasteful, using far more water than is needed to flush. Due to the design of the toilets we use, our restrooms use less water, in some cases as much as 67% less.
But using less water is not the only way we make the water supply last longer. The water that goes through our sinks is captured and reused for flushing; none of the water in our restrooms goes to waste.
Initially this was done with the intent to make utility free restrooms last longer between maintenance periods, but even without that being a concern saving water is just good for the environment. Water is vitally important in some areas (such as the Southwestern US) meaning that the less used the better. And in many cases water requires energy expenditures to transport, so less of that is good too.
Another way that our restrooms are green-friendly is that they sit on the ground with potentially zero ground disturbance. This is critically important in eco-sensitive areas where erosion or disturbance of the local water table is non-negotiable.
Lastly, our restrooms are capable of being energy self-sufficient, or at least supplementing energy use through solar panels. This reduces or eliminates the need for external energy consumption which results in a reduction in greenhouse gases.
The Buildings Themselves are Resource Efficient
Our buildings are factory built, which gives them a massive edge compared to site built when it comes to general resource efficiency. This is because factories are capable of lean production principles and other optimized strategies to better control inventory. These same optimized conditions also result in a reduction in the incidence of errors or accidental damage.
In addition to efficiency, factories are also better positioned to reuse excess materials for other projects, thereby reducing waste. Some places estimate that off-site construction reduces waste by half. Others such as UK’s WRAP (Waste and Resources Action Programme) found up to a 90% reduction.
Not only that, but factories are better able to control and therefore reduce energy use and emissions than conventional construction sites can due to the highly optimized production process. Construction Global magazine claims that this process can reduce energy use by up to 67%. Additionally, the onsite energy use for such things as power tools and site-wide lighting will be much reduced.
Lastly, since factory built restrooms have to be shipped to their location, they are designed in a way that makes them easy to move. This also means they are able to relocate if need be. This can be a useful and environmentally positive trait to have in a scenario where moving a restroom might save you the expenditures of building a second restroom.
To be fair, factory built restrooms are very common in public places, so this doesn’t give our restrooms an edge over everyone. But if choosing between our restroom and an on-site constructed one, there is a clear environmental edge in our favor.
Geothermal Energy Transference Helps Regulate Temperature and Reduce Cooling Costs
When the restroom is connected to a septic or sewer line and is equipped with a modular vault foundation, the restroom fan can add fresh air into the cabin circulating it through the buried concrete vault. This “root cellar” effect can reduce summer temperatures in the cabin up to 15 degrees F on hot days.
Green Flush is Carbon Neutral
Emissions jeopardize us all in the long term, but unfortunately they are just a part of living our lives and can’t be avoided completely. To do our part, Green Flush has partnered with Terrapass to help offset the carbon emissions our company produces. Terrapass offsets carbon emissions with solar farms, methane digesters, as well as planting trees.