RRY 01 - 31 - 2010

One item that comes to mind when thinking of the word sustainable is the act of reusing and recycling. Our latest travels to Ephesus, Turkey is one site which certainly perfected the act of reusing. Ephesus is an ancient site which was erected next to the Aegean Sea, the city was developed and inhabited by an ancient Roman society. This ancient culture was sustainable in many ways, but none was more interesting and funny than the idea of reusing when it comes to peoples business, as in using the bathroom. As with all other ancient roman cities we have visited, this city had a traditional public roman bath house, as well as public toilets. The unique aspect of these facilities in this particular city is that the two amenities share water and use the same water to provide a heating effect. The city is situated on a mountainous terrain which allow for such sharing to happen. The baths which used hot water was naturally heated from hot springs, and instead of just throwing that water away, the Romans cleverly transferred the water using gravity to the nearby public restrooms for use in the toilets. The room was square in shape and the water would continuously flow from the baths to the restrooms where it would clean all the toilets. The real interesting part of this scenario is that the 42 seats located within the restrooms were situated very close together and made from marble. The water from the baths would continuously flow from the baths to the restrooms, the water which would flow under the marble was hot and the warmth from the water would heat the marble allowing the occupants of the restroom to have a heated fanny. Instead of throwing away the water the Romans cleverly reused it and did so to allow for some personal comfort. It is pretty incredible to thing that ancient cultures such as this one were thinking about ways to reuse resources skillfully to ensure that nothing is wasted. Even something as simple as a toilet was carefully thought out and designed to maximize resources. Our society today is just now starting to take some of these principles and use them. Restrooms have undergone some sustainable changes in the last few years and now use less water, or in some cases no water. It has taken our society a long time to accomplish something which has already been developed and well thought out, but now that we are starting to implement some of these strategies we will hopefully replenish some of our valuable resources. [the diagram shows how the water was resued, it starts off being drawn from the hot springs, and once dirty from the baths is transfered to the restrooms where it as used to continuously flush the material from the toilet as well as heat the toilet seat surface. the picture shows the actual interior of the public restrooms]

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