If you are building an environmentally sustainable home, one of the things to consider is what kind of toilet you will run. The standard allows for 5.5L of normal (drinking quality) water to be used for each flush. This means that the toilet can be a significant user of water in a normal household. Here are some options for a water-efficient loo for your eco home.
Dual flush toilet
There is a range of very efficient dual flush toilets on the market. These use a lot less water for a 'light load' and allow you to choose to use more water only when it's necessary. You can also make a point of not flushing for only lighter 'wees' and saving the toilet flushes for 'poos', especially if you have a very heavily frequented toilet (such as family loos where young children use the toilets regularly for very light visits).
Composting, or waterless, toilets can be a great option in very delicate environmentally sensitive areas. These toilets take the waste from a toilet and use a combination of heat and bacteria to encourage rapid decomposition of the waste. The toilet system needs to be kept reasonably warm so that the internal heat can kill the bacteria in the waste and make it suitable to be disposed of in the soil. There is a range of options including continuous composting options (which can support large groups of people), a batch process for smaller households and self-contained units which can be an easy-to-install option in existing homes. It's worth investigating whether or not composting toilets are allowed in your local council area.
Integrated hand sinks
Another eco-friendly toilet design which is gaining popularity is an integrated sink and toilet. This means that after the user has finished with the toilet and is cleaning their hands, the offtake from the sink is then used to flush the toilet. This lowers the overall amount of water used while keeping to a similar style of flush toilets. This can also be a good way to make sure that your kids are washing their hands — as the toilet won't be flushed unless they have.
If you are building an eco-home, it's important to think about what sort of toilet might suit your household. An eco-home construction company can often give you some advice on what types of toilets they have installed in similar homes.