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IAPMO Releases First Green Plumbing and Mechanical Code Supplement

February 1, 2010
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IAPMO announced the launch of its Green Plumbing and Mechanical Code Supplement, which standardizes sustainable residential and commercial plumbing and mechanical systems for the industry. "The building codes are perhaps the biggest hindrance to the adoption of green buildings," said Dave Viola, IAPMO director of Special Services and staff liaison to the Green Technical Committee (GTC) that developed the document. "There's so little information about how to do green systems properly and safely within existing building codes, so we've rolled out a document that shows exactly how it's done."

The Green Supplement is said to bridge the previously troublesome gap between existing codes and established green building programs. The comprehensive document addresses such areas as:
  • Use of alternate water sources (gray water, rainwater harvesting)

  • Proper use of high-efficiency plumbing products

  • Conservation of hot water

  • Energy conservation in HVAC systems

  • Training/education in green plumbing systems

Established in January 2008, the 25-member GTC is comprised of a who's who of industry leaders in all facets of the sustainable plumbing and mechanical fields, along with 60 other plumbers, contractors, engineers, inspectors and energy/water conservation experts enlisted for task groups.

"Many of the provisions in the Green Supplement are very advanced," said Amir Tabakh, director of Environmental Engineering, Environmental Affairs Division of the City of Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, and a member of the GTC. "These standards are 5-7 years ahead of the local codes. The Green Supplement gives a local jurisdiction the opportunity to adopt a superior product, a superior standard without waiting 5-7 years."

Though provisions dealing with sustainable plumbing are prominent, Tabakh contends the mechanical aspects should not be overlooked. "According to the California Energy Commission, 30 percent of the state's energy consumption within commercial buildings is mechanical equipment," he said. "If that 30 percent is positively impacted, it means many more electrical systems will become highly efficient. So, this document ultimately touches national standards for electrical efficiency."

For more information, visit www.iapmo.org/Pages/IAPMO_Green.aspx.

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