For the Proficiency 3L toilet, less really is more.
It wasn’t long ago that the low-flow toilet was seen in the same skeptical light as the electric car—it was an environmentally friendly innovation that aspired to do more than it could actually achieve, requiring vast reserves of money and patience. But while an economically viable electric vehicle remains part of an as-yet unrealized future, the same can’t be said about the low-flow toilet. Meet the Proficiency Ultra High Efficiency Toilet, a three-litre (3L) low-flow model designed by Hennessy & Hinchcliffe Inc. that actually works.
The concept behind the creator Phil Hennessy’s latest invention is fairly simple. “By pressurizing the bowl’s trap-way, which nobody else has done, you’re able to start an immediate siphon without depending on water entering the bowl to start the flush, allowing efficient, effective, and quiet removal of waste with only three litres,” says Jerrad Hennessy, Phil’s son and an employee at Hennessy & Hinchcliffe Inc. That simplicity, Hennessy believes, will be the secret to the Proficiency 3L’s success. “There’s nothing to break on it, there’s nothing to go wrong, it’s easy to produce, and it just functions better than the traditional system.”
Paul Roszell, the director of assets and property services for the London and Middlesex Housing Corporation, can attest to that efficacy. His organization replaced over 2,000 toilets in its high-rise towers with the Proficiency model, and the results so far have been impressive. “I’m not going to throw out a number, but it’s quite substantial,” Roszell says of the savings. “Within a few short years they will have paid for themselves.” Better still, there have been no performance-related complaints associated with the decision to replace the older units, some of which used as much as 23 litres of water per flush. “If anything,” Roszell says, “the performance exceeds that of the equipment that was in place.”
Saving money is one thing, but the Proficiency 3L toilet’s ability to save water is even more impressive. For example, an apartment building on Toronto’s Danforth Avenue managed to cut its water consumption level in half just by installing the new toilets. “They’re saving ten litres of water with every flush,” Jerrad Hennessy says, given that the old models used 13 litres per flush. Based on an average of five flushes per day, he notes, “Every person in that building is saving at least 50 litres of water per day just from retrofitting their toilets.”
Despite the accolades it has already earned, including recognition as the product of the year at the most recent International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials symposium, the Proficiency 3L toilet still has a few doubters. “That’s why we started with the retrofit market, to show people that this technology works,” Jerrad Hennessy says. “Even now, if I talk to people about our 3L toilet, it usually takes a demonstration for someone to believe in it.” But with the product already appearing in Home Hardware and Lowe’s stores, and Rona soon to be added to the list of distributors, it appears that the Proficiency 3L is here to stay. “Like anything, it takes a little while to catch on,” Jerrad Hennessy says. “We’ve really started to snowball now.” — Max Fawcett