Environmentally Friendly Toilet Inspired By Japanese Design
Toilets use a lot of water, even low-flow models, but Caroma's sleek new Profile takes green thinking one step further by mounting a sink on top of the tank.
Caroma's green (well, it's actually white) toilet seems like a smart idea just right for our environmentally conscious times. The "Profile™ 5 with Integrated Hand Basin" is advertised as an all-in-one Toilet Suite that, due to its built-in tank-top wash basin, saves time, space and of course water. In a nutshell, when you flush the toilet the tank is refilled via the tank-top faucet, and as the water pours out you can wash your hands. Thus, you negate the need for a separate sink while saving water in the bargain. An ingenious and original "Australian Water-Saving Innovation", no? Well, not really...
When I read Myra's article on the 2008 Popular Mechanics Breakthrough Awards, the Caroma Profile toilet immediately caught my eye. I'd seen it before - 18 years ago, in fact, on a trip to Japan!
The house I was staying at had a very small second bathroom; so narrow you could easily place your palms flat against the opposite walls while standing in front of the toilet. An ideal setup for parties, I thought. Then I noticed that the bathroom had no sink... or anything else, save for a towel. A true "water closet"; it was barely big enough to hold the toilet and myself!
It seems that tiny bathrooms are a fact of life in Japan, home of those high-tech Toto toilets, and there are space saving toilets specifically designed to suit them. The one I encountered in 1990 was such a beast - like the Caroma Profile, it featured a washbasin inset into the toilet tank. Flush, and the faucet (there were no taps) began to issue cool water which drained into the tank until the float triggered it to shut off.
"What a great idea!", I thought. You save space by not needing a sink, time by being forced to wash up in under a minute, and you're conserving water by using the refill flow to wash with. Water saving toilets like this are perfectly suited for today's push to be green at home.
Now of course, the concept has its flaws... one being that (a) if you wash your hands with soap you usually need more time to rinse it off, and (b) wouldn't the toilet bowl be full of bubbles?
One should also check to see if your toilet's plumbing routes the same purity level of water as that used in the rest of your home/apartment. Kudos to Caroma for updating and repackaging a good old idea from Japan, but buyers beware, the water saving Profile series is not for every person - nor every bathroom.
J A P A N O R A M A