An innovative Warwickshire firm is flushed with success after convincing a landlord their tenants were costing taxpayers hundreds of pounds by spending a penny.
Father-and-son business Nationwide Energy Consultants modified urinals at Warwickshire County Councilmanaged Centenary Business Centre in Nuneaton, knocking 20 per cent off their water bills.
Nationwide, founded in 2001 by 57-year-old John O'Hara and 35-year-old son Dean, primarily offers utilities advice to the pub trade.
Dean, a plumber, noticed the amount of water wasted in the urinals at the business centre and convinced the council to trial the firm's water-saving technology. With a Leeds-based engineering company, Nationwide developed a flushing system using an infra-red sensor to detect when somebody "spends a penny" and flushes when needed. Centre manager Paul Kerry said the system could save over £1,000 a year.
"We were flushing money down the drain," he said.
With media attention focused on rising gas and electricity bills and another year of hosepipe bans and scarce water, four-year-old Nationwide has seen business booming. The company tripled turnover in the last year and employs 11 staff.
Dean said: "For many years water was unmetered, so it has taken a while for people to realise they could save on their bills by reducing water use. Water is set to rise by around 17 per cent in 2006."
The company hopes to secure further contracts with Warwickshire County Council.
Dean said: "We have a range of push taps and hope the council will use them when refurbishing the business centre toilets next year."