LavLab is a non-profit organization dedicated 
to researching  peoples' reactions
 to bathrooms with technologies for a greener environment  
What Is LavLab?
Lavatory Laboratory (Lav Lab) is a non-profit organization that investigates the human dimensions of bathroom technologies. We explore people’s reactions to new-and-different toilets, especially those oriented toward green and sustainable futures.

Lav Lab seeks to take water technologies to the next level. Currently, there are many water-
conserving technologies that are being used only in specialized, ‘niche’ situations. However, these technologies have the potential to do more.

Our research seeks to remove barriers to adoption and stimulate new ideas. We seek to understand more about how people perceive bathroom technologies and the factors that shape their preferences.

What will the findings imply for evolving approaches to water conservation as well as bodily waste? Anticipated results include: insight into the next-generation technologies, better and improved regulatory structures, faster innovation process, and expanded markets for water technologies.

Lav Lab seeks to help make sustainable water technologies widespread.


Will Lav Lab develop new kinds of toilets and sinks?

Not exactly. Already, lots of good technologies exist, here in the U.S. and globally. However, many have been limited in their geographical scope, and aren’t familiar beyond their current niche application. They may not be well-understood, and they may need to be adapted. Our work involves creating conversations among key players: we will clarify user perceptions and also regulator concerns. By planning conversations and opening lines of communication, we illuminate the human dimensions of lavatory technologies, and this builds a foundation for innovation. 

Isn’t the market supposed to create innovative projects?

Market forces do a great job with some technologies but not others. The latest electronics (tablets, phones, etc.) come about through a healthy design process that links people, preferences, passions, and producers, for profit. When it comes to toilets, however, it is not so clear. Environmental costs and benefits rarely show on the spreadsheets. Prices don’t reflect the ‘full cost’ of using natural resources properly. And efficiency doesn’t count for much when pricing is all off. Just as with other specialized technologies that help meet some larger public policy goal (e.g. safety devices), innovators need to go beyond the limits of market models and for-profit firms. 

Where is Lavatory Laboratory located?

Lav Lab exists as a multi-nodal operation with the headquarters in New York. Our test sites include public bathrooms in several places where collaborating partners are located. Planning and data analysis will take place in the Lav Lab headquarters on the SUNY-ESF campus in Syracuse, NY.

Who is Lav Lab?

Lav Lab is staffed by the founding director Sharon Moran, graduate students, and other researchers, based at SUNY-ESF. The larger set of co-conspirators includes an advisory group as well as partner organizations, and together these people and places help provide the input, advice, and test sites we need. Many kinds of professional expertise are represented by our collaborators, including: social science (e.g., opinion research), environmental engineering, industrial design, marketing, and public policy. Both scholars and practitioners help advise us, and this is pivotal to our success.

Contact us
We would love to hear from you soon,

Prof. Sharon Moran 
SUNY ESF Syracuse, New York