Jul 27 2012
Back in the first post to this blog, we told you about the new toilet assemblies bought and installed to reduce water usage at ASCE’s headquarters and satisfy LEED requirements. Since then, things have come almost full circle, with several unexpected and challenging decisions along the way.
Zurn HydroAdvantage self-generating 1.28 gallons-per-flush assemblies were chosen to eliminate the old models’ dependence on batteries. Although the initial cost was higher, the savings on batteries and labor over the years made them seem a better choice. However, about two months after installation, a major setback occurred – the original Kohler 3.8gpf toilets would not flush properly with the new assemblies.
The decision was made to replace the toilets with a new model expected to work better with the new self-generating assemblies. A Kohler1.6gpf toilet matched the wall footprint and height requirement, and was chosen to replace all 44 toilets, which accomplished the goal of compatibility with the Zurn assemblies.
Yet, after changing all 44 toilets and flush valves, instead of success, another setback: the Zurn assemblies required constant monitoring and adjustment to function properly. The building manager underwent special training on the new toilet valves adjustments, including how to program them via computer.
Repeated follow-ups with the manufacturer’s representative were required as the building’s maintenance staff tried to keep the new self-generating assemblies working properly. In some cases replacements were required. Eventually the manufacturer offered to provide a battery-operated model at no charge, pending further testing and refinement of their self-generating valves. At a later date, the manufacturer would reinstall the self-generating assemblies at no charge.
The decision was made not to return to the self-generating assemblies, since so much time had already been expended on this component of the LEED project. Even given the warranties that came with the assemblies, further necessary adjustments and repairs were seen as likely.
A full refund was negotiated with Zurn for the HydroAdvantage self-generating 1.28gpf assemblies, with a plan to reevaluate such assemblies in five years if/when seeking LEED recertification.
Despite some challenges, we did end up with a high performance/efficient product, Zurn HydroAdvantage battery-operated 1.6 gallons-per-flush assemblies with a Kohler 1.6gpf toilet. These are considered low flow and meet our LEED requirements.
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