Plumbing and Mechanical

PMI Discusses Water Efficiency, Green Building At Fall Meeting

January 24, 2007
Water conservation efforts that focus only on the fixtures will not solve the problem. Future efforts must look beyond the fixtures to the system as a whole, according to Shawn Martin, director of the Applied Technology Division, National Association of Home Builders Research Center.

Water conservation efforts that focus only on the fixtures will not solve the problem. Future efforts must look beyond the fixtures to the system as a whole, according to Shawn Martin, director of the Applied Technology Division, National Association of Home Builders Research Center. This includes piping system design, greywater reuse, rainwater collection, user behavior and distributed water heating. Martin was one of the speakers at The Plumbing Manufacturers Institute’s Fall Meeting which was held Oct. 8-11 in Washington, D.C.

In terms of user behavior, more study is needed regarding how people interact with conserving devices vs. traditional fixtures, said Martin. If a person washes his hands X minutes when using a traditional faucet, will he wash longer if using a low-flow faucet? How will a person use a low-flow showerhead or a dual-flush toilet vs. traditional models?

David Sheridan, P.E., principal in Aqua Cura, identified two trends that will influence green building and have a pronounced effect on the water efficiency issue: climate change and petroleum depletion.

Dryer areas will get dryer. Potable water will become more expensive and less reliable. Centralized electric power will be less reliable. The roofs of buildings will be seen as not just a place to gather water - that water can be considered for drinking. Where possible, houses will be equipped with a compost unit under one of the bathrooms. Potable water will become too dear to use for carrying out wastewater. There will be greater interest in non-water-using urinals.

New officers were also elected at the meeting: President Ken Martin, senior director commercial product development at Delta Faucet; First Vice President Rod Ward, president of Speakman Co.; Second Vice President Bill Axline, executive vice president and COO of Fluidmaster; and Treasurer Pete DeMarco, director of compliance engineering at American Standard.