New toilets overflow with savings at Bayside High School

New toilets overflow with savings at Bayside High School
Photo by Phil Corso
By Phil Corso

New porcelain thrones have been sitting well with administrators at Bayside High School, where a new city initiative has helped save energy one flush at a time.

The school installed 102 new toilets to serve its more than 3,200 students in August and has saved roughly 3 gallons per flush ever since, according to school engineer Richard Fricione. In these new toilets, a straight path allows the water to drain directly out of the bowl instead of following its predecessors’ more twisty tubes.

“We have been monitoring our water usage all year and have seen it gone down quite a bit,” Fricione said of the new 1.2-gallon toilets, which replaced older equipment that used 4.5 gallons per flush.

The city tapped Bayside as well as Hillcrest HS in Jamaica to participate in its pilot program that aims to conserve water with new low-flow toilets, according to the city Department of Environmental Protection. By the program’s completion in five years, a DEP spokesman said 500 city schools will have received 40,000 new energy-saving toilets with the goal of draining their water usage by 70 percent, saving roughly 4 million gallons per day.

The $31 million city initiative also preps for something greater, when the Delaware Aqueduct is temporarily shut down in 2020 for repairs. The aqueduct has supplied the city with more than half of its public water and its closure will demand that administrators find alternative sources while it is repaired, the DEP said.

Assistant Principal Gerard Gonsalves said the city tapped Bayside as one of its two high schools to sport the new toilets because of its large capacity both during and after school-hours.

“It’s a new day and a new way of thinking,” Gonsalves said. “Things have to be done to conserve resources and this is a step in that direction.”

For Bayside, the new bowls underscore an even bigger endeavor to inspire its environmental engineering students to be innovative and conservative. The school’s Environmental Engineering and Technology program exists to prep students for the job market by solving environmental issues through engineering, according to Dorit Eilon, environmental engineering and technology development director.

The school also signed onto another initiative, the Green Design Lab Energy Challenge, to reduce energy consumption and raise environmental awareness throughout its different career and technical education programs. In its energy and environment class, Eilon said students investigated the impact energy has on their lives and explored technology such as solar panels to increase efficiency in their school.

“I think the toilets are part of a wholesome approach we are trying to implement in the entire building,” Eilon said. “Anything you create, you need to take the environment into consideration and this really ties nicely into the program.”

Reach reporter Phil Corso by e-mail at pcorso@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4573.