Henry Miller's Theatre, which houses Roundabout Theatre's production of Birdie, was rebuilt by the Durst Organization and Bank of America to meet the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) standards, with the urinals part of the initiative.
Eliminating flushing conserves 1-3 gallons of potable water/flush, translating to tens if not hundreds of thousands of gallons of water saved annually.
[caption id="attachment_1270" align="alignright" width="180" caption="Sloan Waterfree Urinals"][/caption]
But what about the "ick," or smell factor? That's where the high-tech element comes in. Located in the base of the urinal fixture (Henry Miller's uses a model manufactured by Sloan Waterfree) is a reservoir containing a layer of "sealant" - an environmentally-friendly oil. If you recall your elementary school chemistry (or have ever made a batch of Italian salad dressing), you know that oil floats on water and water-based liquids, so when urine passes into the urinal's reservoir, it falls through the layer of oil so the urine - and its accompanying odor - gets trapped below the oil. The reservoir also contains a trap for sediment and waste.
Waterless urinals are becoming increasingly popular, having been recently installed in sports stadiums like the Rose Bowl and the New York Mets' Citi Field, but are new to Broadway. So perhaps it's fitting that they should be first found on the Great White Way at Henry Miller's Theatre - the site of Urinetown, The Musical.