The advertisers website referred to the following:
“HIPPO Water Saving
Hippo the Water Saver is the simple, proven and low cost water saving device to help conserve water in toilet cisterns. The typical family uses 70% of their water in the bathroom, with toilet flushing accounting for 30% of the household water use. Every time a toilet is flushed the Hippo not only saves up to 3 litres of water, but it will also reduce your carbon footprint and save you money.
If you have a 13 or standard 9 litre cistern then a HIPPO 9 (the original HIPPO) is the simplest and most effective way to cut your water usage in your toilet cistern.
JUST LAUNCHED!!! The "HIPPO 7"
If you have a slim-line 9 litre or a 7.5 litre cistern then the new HIPPO 7 will also help you save water, reduce your water bills and carbon footprint.
If you are uncertain, flush your cistern and count the seconds it takes to empty. The number of seconds is a rough guide to the cistern size. If you are still uncertain pop off the lid and try a HIPPO in it or email us at HIPPO@lowflo.ie
How easy is it to install your new HIPPO?”
Underneath this question, the advertiser displayed two photographic images of a container being fitted by hand to a domestic toilet cistern.
“A typical business environment will find that they make an average saving of 6,000 litres of water per employee each year, with schools and colleges experiencing similar savings.
We probably all use water without considering the carbon emissions associated with its supply, disposal and heating. Staggering as it may seem, this accounts for five percent of the UK’s carbon emissions and equals that of all UK aviation traffic.
Waterwise's research showed that the energy used to pump, treat and heat the water in the average family home in one year produces the carbon equivalent of a return flight from London to New York.
Many toilets will flush just as effectively with less water. By putting Hippos into your cisterns you can reduce the amount flushed away and for those on a metered supply this means a significant and sustained saving on water and your water bills.”
The complainant, a student in the area of Energy Management, said that, while he was not querying the statement that the Hippo Bag could save up to three litres of water per flush in a toilet cistern, that he was querying the statement that this three litre saving could typically save a business an average of 6,000 litres of water per employee, per annum. He said that the three litre saving was representative of 23% of the entire 13 litre flush or the 6,000 litres per employee per annum. If this was the case he said then the actual employee usage asserted to just under 26,000 litres per annum.
The complainant said that the average working year was approximately 48 weeks net of holidays and 240 working days net of weekends which would equate to:
26,000 litres/240 = 8.33 flushes per eight hour working day = Approx. 1 flush per hour
He said that while it is estimated that the average person flushes the toilet between four to seven times per 16 hour day and while he accepted that employees accounted for a sizable portion (60-80%) of the total operational energy used in most working environments, it was his belief that the figure stated by the advertisers was over estimated.
The advertisers said that, while it was an easy exercise to determine how much water was saved by each individual Hippo product, it was not as easy to extrapolate the savings for an individual business as this could vary significantly from business to business. Consequently, they said that the figure of 6,000 litres which they referred to on their website could only be considered an indication. A number of factors had to be taken into consideration when calculating savings. The Hippo provided a three litre saving with each flush, then saving 6,000 litres per annum would imply 2,000 toilet flushes per year.
The advertisers said they had based their calculations on the information provided on www.waterwise.org.uk which indicated that the average household could save 5,000 litres of water per year by installing a 1 litre displacement device, implying the average domestic toilet was flushed 5,000 per year. The average household occupancy in the UK was 2.3 so this equated to each person flushing the toilet 2,173 times per annum while at home. They then worked out the amount of time each individual spent in work and applied these calculations accordingly
In conclusion, the advertisers said that they considered they had been clear in relation to the amount of water a customer could save with each toilet flush, thereby allowing each business to calculate their own potential savings based on the information they had in relation to the use of bathroom facilities by their employees.
The Executive challenged the figures and referred to information available online which indicated that normal toilet flushing frequency would be 4-6 times per day, which had also been stated by the complainant.
The advertisers did not respond further in the matter.
The Complaints Committee considered the details of the complaint and the advertisers’ response. The Committee did not consider that the advertisers had substantiated their claim in relation to water savings. They considered that the claim was in breach of Sections 2.9, 2.22, 2.24 and 12.1 of the Code.