May 17, 2007 It's not our favourite subject, but it has the potential of saving the average office building around 2.3 million litres of water each year. Caroma's H2Zero Cube Urinal is completely waterless, featuring an air-tight seal and deodorising cartridge to keep bathrooms smelling fresh without squandering water.

Taking out the inaugural Award for Excellence in Sustainable Design at the 2007 Australian Design Awards, the H2Zero is Caroma's reaction to the growing water shortage problem facing Australians as the country suffers through its worst drought in recorded history. With the average urinal flush expending around 2 litres of water, switching new buildings to a waterless system has the potential to save billions of litres of water each year wherever the technology is implemented around the globe.

Problems with previous waterless urinals have included excessive odour, particularly once oil seals have failed, and the frightening-sounding "build-up of waste matter" that we'll devote no further thought to. Caroma claims its Bio Seal technology provides a completely airtight separation between the urinal and the waste stream, trapping odour in the pipes - and a deodorising block in the main cartridge keeps the outside of the unit from developing the sort of men's room funk that previous waterless units have suffered from.

There's also cost savings to be had, as the unit requires no cistern plumbing or buttons, and the maintenance routine is simple, quick and touch-free.

Let's hope businesses worldwide get on the water-saving bandwagon with clever bathroom devices like this one.

View gallery - 4 images