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Low-flow toilets have improved

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Joanne Ciccarello/Staff/The Christian Science Monitor

(Read caption) Tony Silverio, who is installing the plumbing at Sheep Dog Hollow (a 1902 farmhouse that's being renovated) is a fan of Toto toilets because of their ecologically sound low-flow flushing prowess.

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To be frank, I’ve never thought much about toilets. In the past, whenever I’ve found myself in the market for a new john, the only thing that concerned me was its exterior design. I like things that are elegant and old (or, at least, that have that authentic antique look.)

But now in my effort to become a better human being, as well as renovate Sheep Dog Hollow in as green and economical manner as possible, I’ve become immersed the history and recent technological advances of the toilet. (For instance, did you know the derivation of the word? It’s from the word toile: “French for ‘cloth’ draped over a lady or gentleman's shoulders whilst their hair was being dressed, and then … by extension … the whole complex of operations of hairdressing and body care that centered at a dressing table.”

That helped me understand something that has puzzled me since childhood: the difference between eau de toilette and perfume. The latter is stronger than the former, when logic would suggest that the former, if it really was of the “toilette” should be the more fragrant of the two. But I digress…)

In a previous post, I wrote about how much water the average toilet consumes (up to 40 percent of the water used in a household), how water shortages are looming in the vast majority of states, and the fact that ultra low flow toilets are now the law of the land as a result of a well-intentioned act of Congress designed to conserve what fresh water we have.

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