City saves millions of litres due to new flushers

Enough water will be saved each year to fill the Commonwealth Pool. Picture: Greg Macvean
Enough water will be saved each year to fill the Commonwealth Pool. Picture: Greg Macvean
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Enough water to fill the Royal Commonwealth Pool will be saved by the council each year – after new automatic flushing controls were put in its HQ loos.

The energy-smart flushers were fitted to urinals at the historic City Chambers building on the Royal Mile earlier this year.

And there’s nothing bog standard about their performance as they are capable of saving enough water to fill 137 baths every day. It is also estimated the move will save £7500 in a year.

The wasted water would have previously amounted to more than 4 million litres annually, with the saved liquid going a long way to filling the 5.5 million litres used across the Commie’s three pools.

The switch has already been so successful that city officials will roll out hundreds of the flush control units in 112 
other council properties across Edinburgh.

About £150,000 will be saved every year once installation of the devices is completed, saving the equivalent amount of water used for one million showers.

City finance and resources convener Councillor Alasdair Rankin said: “It’s vital that all council staff and those who use our buildings play their part in helping to save energy, reduce costs and protect the environment.

“In a time of squeezed budgets across all areas of the council, it is only right and fair that we thoroughly examine our own practices and ensure that we are doing all we 
can to make changes where necessary.

“With 17,000 staff working across the council, these small steps can actually end up making a big difference. The Capital Coalition is committed to protecting frontline services and we will ensure that we continue to operate as efficiently and effectively as possible in all areas.”

The authority has set ambitious targets of slashing energy and water consumption by 20 per cent by 2020.

Green environment spokesman Councillor Chas Booth said: “Never mind spending a penny, the council has been wasting thousands of pounds on old and leaking plumbing in our toilets and urinals. I’m sure everyone would rather we invested that money in vital public services instead of literally flushing it down the drain.”

An energy audit was carried out across the City Chambers during the summer, with a survey carried out to improve the efficiency of the building’s lighting.

Options being investigated include replacing lights with energy-saving lamps that last longer. Putting in sensors and timers that mean lights will only be used when needed is another alternative.

Most of the building dates back as far as 150 years ago, with the majority of the interior and all of the main council chambers dating from 1875 to 1890.

Cost savings across 
council-run schools are also being sought. Improving insulation and installing solar panels on school roofs are two methods being investigated.

dale.miller@edinburghnews.com