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Hotel Introduces Dual-Flush Toilets and Green Energy To 29 Palms

By Leslie Andrews- Desert Local News

TWENTYNINE PALMS, CA May 4, 2010 -- Tony Naraval, General Manager of the Sunnyvale Garden Suites Hotel has always been a champion for green energy and water conservation. After installing dual-flush toilets in all of his hotel suites and in his personal home, he believes that everybody in the city of Twenynine Palms must do the same.

"We pride ourselves with being the low-carbon footprint hotel," said Naraval. "It dawned on me that we don’t have this toilet in the U.S. and that the whole country isn’t using it. I just noticed that some stores are now carrying this and we figured that this is the desert and we need to save water."

Older standard toilets throughout the city have a tendency to use 3.6 gallons of water per flushing. With the dual-flush toilets, they have two buttons. Button one lets out a one gallon flush, suitable for average toilet usages. For massive waste disposal, button two lets out 1.6 gallons in its flushing. In an average day, the older toilets use about twenty-one gallons of water, while the dual-flush ones use as few as six gallons altogether.

"So far, the feedback from the guests has been positive, regarding the efficiency of this toilet," he adds. "We are probably the only hotel in California that has these type of toilets."

Australia, New Zealand and Singapore have used this type of toilet since 1980 and since the mid-1990s, they have mandated their usage. In the United States, these kinds of toilets are now available at hardware outlet stores like Lowe’s, Costco and Home Depot starting from $90. The dual-flush toilets are also septic safe, as the entire city of Twentynine Palms at this time uses septic systems.

In addition to saving water, Naraval believes in saving gas and electricity in his hotel suites by using swamp coolers in all units as opposed to air conditioners. And in his spa, he uses an economical water heater that takes 30 minutes to fully heat the entire spa. "My guests need to let me know a half hour in advance before they want to use the spa," he explained. This saves on gas bills, as in most places, they keep their spas going 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Overall, he spent a few thousand dollars installing the water heater and the MasterCool swamp cooler, but in the long run, he has seen the savings and the appliances pay for themselves.

Guests at the Sunnyvale Garden Suites Hotel are also encouraged to recycle, as plastic bags, newspapers, bottles and cans are treasured. In every suite, they have reminder signs and recycle containers. "We have our employees collect them and at the end of the month, we send them to the recycling center," adds Naraval. Having come from the Silicon Valley, Naraval has learned to become energy efficient and has learned several techniques. He has also researched the possibility of going totally solar in the future.

At the last two city meetings, Naraval encouraged city leaders at the Planning Commission and at the City Council to mandate dual-flush toilets in all new constructions in Twentynine Palms. So far, Council members have brought up the idea for future city council agendas to be considered.

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