A little bathroom humor helped two toilet manufacturers win honors from the Environmental Protection Agency for advancing the agency's WaterSense conservation program. American Standard and Kohler, which both have top-rated toilets in Consumer Reports tests, were credited for wacky blogs and public service campaigns that use a light-hearted approach to encourage consumers not to waste water.
Since the program began in 2006, WaterSense labeled products have helped Americans save 287 billion gallons of water and $4.7 billion in water and energy bills through partnerships with manufacturers, retailers and builders. But water conservation can be a dry topic. To liven things up, Kohler and some partners ran the "Wasting water is weird" campaign featuring Rip the Drip who showed up in bathrooms and kitchens to lecture homeowners about water waste. Then there's Professor Toilet who writes a blog for American Standard, a company that last year ran the "responsible bathroom tour" toting and touting WaterSense toilets across the nation.
On the serious side, Kohler introduced 40 new WaterSense models including the the $6,390 Numi, which it claims offers unrivaled water efficiency. Among other introductions, American Standard developed the "no tools" toilet that can be installed with simple hand tightening. All WaterSense toilets use 1.28 gallons per flush or less.
In Consumer Reports toilet tests, six WaterSense toilets made our list of top picks including two from Kohler and one from American Standard. Conventional models from those brands also made the list. A single-flush toilet from Aquasource and a dual-flush model from Glacier Bay, which both sell for $100, were named CR Best Buys. That shows you don't have to invest a lot to stop flushing money down the toilet.
Source: 2012 WaterSense Awards.
—Mary H.J. Farrell