Another flushing success
As noted in past posts, in the next two to three years Josée and I hope to build a house on our property. Our main aim is to build a self-sufficient, off-grid house, renewable house with a cost at par with or lower than conventional construction costs. This might encourage builders and their clients to look at the options rather than settle for conventional construction methods. Anyway, I’m always looking for new and interesting ideas to add into the house and I was reading this morning about the sink toilet. Now before you have visions of kneeling before the porcelain god, washing away the stress of the day by dipping deep into the bowl of horrors, NO – the sink is used after the toilet and is a separate and distinct entity!!
The Mona Lisa of Toilets
Basically, the pictures show all you need to know. Water used to wash your hands drains directly into the toilet cistern, with an overflow valve in case of OC handwashing. Gray water from the sink is then used to flush the toilet, reducing clean water usage. The toilets themselves have the dual flush system which further reduces water consumption.
In Japan, there are over 100 million of these toilets in use but they haven’t yet become mainstream in our “over-consuming, McMansion” North American society. The dual flush system in our house works quite well but I think in our new place we might look at adding in these sink toilets.
I just finished watching a documentary titled Crude Impact. The main theme was our continued use of fossil fuels and the approaching ‘deadline’ of peak oil which is basically the time at which global production of fossil fuels begins to decline and can’t increase (due to reserves being depleted). For the most part, the movie was quite good; it had a bit of the scare tactics of non-mainstream documentaries (quiet, serious narration etc.) but the content was useful and interesting. Sometimes it’s easy to just think that the problem is too big or that one person can’t make a difference but what I took from the documentary is that it is precisely the individual who does make the difference.
Some of the minor key changes we can make are to shop locally and sustainably, for things we really need, not those which society dictates we acquire. I learned that food production is one of the number one consumers of fossil fuels; gas for farm machinery, petroleum products for fertilizers and pesticides, fuel for transportation and distribution and so on. This morning, I ate a few grapes for breakfast without even thinking about where they came from and how much it actually cost in terms of energy (and subsequent pollution etc.) to get them to my fridge. They probably came from Chile or California. Think that it doesn’t make much of a difference? It takes 10 calories of fossil fuel energy to produce one calorie of energy available in the average ‘home-cooked meal’. We can reduce this massively by shopping at local bakeries, farm markets and other sources. Not only does it reduce energy consumption, we get healthier products and help to sustain local economies.
Take a few minutes to watch the movie; I think you can get it either from the actual site or from the library as well. If nothing else, it will make you a little more aware of the energy in your life!
Categories: Commentary, General interest
Tags: alternate energy, Crude Impact, energy, peak oil, petroleum, solar, sustainable living, The Corporation, Walden, wind