San Francisco has point-of-sale ordinances for both energy and water conservation. The requirements have been around for a while, but the water conservation ordinance was updated a few years ago to require the installation of low-flow toilets, low-flow faucets and shower heads, and to verify that there are no active water leaks at the property.
For the most part, the low-flow toilet requirement isn’t an enormous deal. Many homes already have 1.6gpf toilets installed, which is what you need to meet the conservation requirement (although, if you don’t have 1.6gpf already installed, the city now requires that you replace your water hog of a toilet with a 1.28gpf model).
But what about toilets like the one above? It is a “custom built” toilet and you can’t exactly run down to your favorite hardware store and pick up a replacement toilet in the same style or color.
The SF energy and water ordinance has an exception to the toilet replacement requirement for:
Residential properties may be exempted from toilet replacements that compromise the historical integrity of the building pursuant to the California Historical Building Code as determined by the Department of Building Inspection.
I have absolutely no idea how one determines if the replacement of a toilet would compromise the “historical integrity” of a home, but if you can’t meet that requirement then you’ll be replacing your toilet (at least for the amount of time the inspector is in your home).
I’m all for using less water (especially when everyone else does it so I can have extra hot water in the shower) but the unintended consequence of low flow toilets being widely installed in San Francisco is that without the same volume of water in the sewer, the solid waste is backing up and creating a serious odor in certain neighborhoods and areas.