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Essential Composting Toilets (PDF)
A Guide to Options, Design, Installation, and Use
Composting toilets are a key feature for local resilience, money saving, water conservation, resource recovery, septic system replacement, and an improved bathroom experience in rural and urban buildings.
Essential Composting Toilets is a streamlined manual that takes a practical, how-to approach to composting toilet system selection, design, installation, and operation, while meeting universal health and safety objectives. Drawing from existing regulations and research, this book dispels myths and provides tools to assess various systems. It includes:
- Easily-understood drawings, plans, and photos
- Coverage of all main composting toilet systems
- Selection criteria including site considerations, urine separation pros/cons, renovations/new builds, ventilation, servicing, and composting details
- Design and installation details.
Offering a professional approach accessible to DIYers, homeowners, designers, building consultants, water conservation advocates, and regulators, Essential Composting Toilets provides key information for redesigning toilet systems anywhere in the world.
Gord Baird, BA, is co-creator, designer, and builder of the award winning Eco-Sense home, the first internationally recognized Living Building Challenge petal residential project. Gord is the Water Commissioner for the Victoria Capital Regional District’s regional Water Supply Commission and Juan de Fuca Water Distribution Commission, and was a technical editor for the BC Ministry of Health’s Manual of Composting Toilets and Greywater Standard Practices (2016).
Ann Baird, BSc, is co-creator, designer, and builder of the award winning Eco-Sense home, the first internationally recognized Living Building Challenge petal residential project. Ann works on regional climate action initiatives involving water, food, and energy resiliency in climate adaptation and risk management.
"For over a hundred years our society has been treating water and waste as necessary evils rather than resources to be celebrated. A Victorian paradigm that is incredibly wasteful and damaging continues to underlie how we handle our most precious resources in nearly every city and community on the planet. There is a better way. In this important book the Baird's shed critical insights on the power and rightfulness of composting our waste and closing the loop between nutrient and fertility. Their depth of knowledge, practical experience and collected examples provide a way forward that is responsible and regenerative."
Jason F. McLennan, CEO, McLennan Design, and founder, the Living Building Challenge
"Get your shit together the right way, on the first try. This book is one of the best researched and presented books on the topic of composting toilets that I have ever read and is a must-have for anyone wanting to create resilient closed-loop systems on their home, acreage, or farm."
Rob Avis, P. Eng, co-author, Essential Rainwater Harvesting, www.vergepermaculture.ca
"As a builder and manager of several humanure composting systems I can enthusiastically recommend this essential guide! Gord and Ann Baird begin this book with a simple statement: Thermophilic composting at the right temperature for the right amount of time transforms humanure into safe and nutrient rich compost. From this essential point they present the full range of options for reconnecting the missing link in our nutrient cycle. From the home scale to the urban office building, solutions are thoroughly examined and clearly explained."
Darrell Frey, Three Sisters Farm, author, Bioshelter Market Garden and co-author, The Food Forest Handbook
"True to form, Ann and Gord Baird once again lead on the innovation front with their informative and timely guide "Essential Composting Toilets". Their research, pragmatism and practical experience, has resulted in a significant contribution to the advancement of water conservation practice in BC."
Eric Bonham P.Eng, Partnership for Water Sustainability in British Columbia (PWSBC)
"Gord and Ann Baird have written a totally practical, inspiring guide that shows how we can work in partnership with the bacteria and worms to build healthy, safe residential composting toilets. Their dedication to detail is astounding. All praise to the psychrophilic and mesophilic bacteria — and to the Bairds."
Guy Dauncey, author, Journey to the Future
"Gord and Ann take on this potentially shitty subject and present it with a wonderful balance of science and humor. As we embark upon an owner-builder off-grid home project, this book could not have come at a better time. The guidance provided for working with building officials is invaluable. It helped us ask the right questions, and gave us additional confidence that we were making the right choices."
Jeff Walton, Cowichan Valley.
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