Find out what's going on in the industry regarding eco-friendly construction.

  • About 125 plumbing industry innovators gathered in Chicago Aug. 19-20 for the International Emerging Technology Symposium, co-convened by the International Association of Plumbing & Mechanical Officials and the World Plumbing Council. PM Engineer Publisher Bob Miodonski served as moderater of the two-day event, which presented future solutions to today’s challenges within the manufacturing, engineering and trade industries as they pertain to water and energy conservation, sanitation and health, renewable energies and the sustainability of the environment. Stephen L. Johnson, administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, delivered the keynote address.

    During an afternoon session, researchers John Koeller (Alliance for Water Efficiency) and Bill Gauley (Veritec Consulting Inc.) revealed their top five new and innovative water-saving products (in inverse order): dual-flush toilets, one-pint urinals, package greywater systems, high-efficiency residential humidifers and high-efficiency pre-rinse spray valves.

    According to Koeller and Gauley, the combined annual water savings of these products, at just 5 percent market penetration, is more than 200 billion gallons.

  • Plumbing manufacturer BrassCraft has strengthened its ecological commitment with new streamlined packaging and energy-efficient manufacturing processes. Packaging materials supplied to BrassCraft are provided by Forest Stewardship Council and Sustainable Forestry Initiative-certified suppliers. Using materials provided by these certified suppliers supports the worldwide growth of responsible forest management.

    The conservation continues with an average of 30 percent recycled materials used in the production of its shipping cartons. By using recycled materials and decreasing total packaging material weight, BrassCraft has reduced both its fuel consumption and carbon emissions.

  • The U.S. Green Building Council began its “Fifty for Fifty” initiative, working with state lawmakers in all 50 states to promote green school buildings. The council’s goal is for every state legislature in the nation to have its own caucus or working group of lawmakers advancing green schools for kids. Inspired by the successes of the Congressional Green Schools Caucus, the initiative will build on widespread participation in USGBC’s LEED for Schools program, which has more than 1,000 green schools registered across the country. For more information, visit

  • Do you ever wish you could help save the earth while going to the bathroom? Well, now you can! Watch this episode at “Toilet Tips: The Three Square Wad.” New York City graphic designer Jeff Rutzky teaches us the art of conserving toilet paper with his very special technique.

  • The National Center for Construction Education and Research has partnered with the Sustainable Facilities and Infrastructure Research Team of the Myers-Lawson School of Construction at Virginia Tech University to create green training for the construction industry.

    This curriculum, titled “Your Role in the Green Environment,” provides fundamental instruction in the green environment, green construction practices, and green building rating systems. The 15-hour introductory course introduces the LEED Green Building Rating System, helps identify construction activities that contribute to a project’s LEED rating, and addresses common construction pitfalls to avoid in achieving LEED certification.

    Students successfully completing the program through an NCCER-accredited training sponsor will earn industry-recognized credentials through the NCCER National Registry. For more information, visit or contact NCCER customer service at 888/622-3720.

  • The International Code Council Board approved the creation of a Sustainable Building Technology Committee to support its many ongoing efforts in green, sustainable and safe construction. The SBTC will provide an open forum for discussion of sustainability and ensure that council members and stakeholders have a key voice in the critical debate. To learn more about the council’s proactive green initiatives, go to

  • As part of its efforts to encourage water efficiency across the country, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced that five builders will participate in the Water-Efficient Single-Family New Homes Pilot Program. The builders will construct 35-50 homes designed to meet the WaterSense program’s draft specification for new homes: Anderson Homes, Raleigh and Chapel Hill, N.C.; Aspen Homes of Colorado, Windsor, Colo.; Cleantech Homes, Beverly, Mass.; Dorn Homes, Tubac, Ariz.; and Tim O’Brien Homes Inc.,Waukesha, Wis.

    WaterSense-labeled new homes will be designed to be at least 20 percent more water-efficient than similar new homes being built today. Once the specification is finalized, builders across the country will be able to earn the WaterSense label for new homes certified to the specification. More information about the specification can be found at

  • Uponor and Borealis announced a joint initiative to apply the concept of water footprint to assess the amount of water needed to equip a typical home with a modern plumbing and underfloor heating system. The initiative will investigate water uses across the entire plastics industry value chain from raw materials extraction to a full system installed at home.

    Initial findings show that a typical under-floor heating and tap water plumbing systems for a 100 m² apartment using 500 metres of PEX pipe require some 29 m³ of water from “cradle to home.” The plastics material and pipe production account for a third of the total footprint of the system once installed.