This month, in honor of World Plumbing Day — today, March 11 — green building practices and LEED certification guidelines are in the limelight. In order to exist in this world in a way that benefits our local and national communities and conserves water, our most valuable resource, clean and sustainable plumbing practices are essential.

Obtaining LEED certification is a great place to start. In 1988, the U.S. Green Building Council developed the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design rating system, which provides a point system score card for evaluating environmental performance from the perspective of whole, nonresidential building. The LEED rating is organized into five environmental categories: Indoor Environmental Quality, Materials & Resources, Energy & Atmosphere, Water Efficiency, and Sustainable Sites.

Studying LEED standards and requirements and passing an exam enables any plumbing professional to become LEED-certified and identify as a leader in environmental practices and awareness. This not only benefits your community but increases your cash flow and the scope of future projects.

By meeting the standards set forth in the LEED rating system, you establish your business as a valuable asset to builders in your area who are working on LEED projects. LEED-accredited businesses forge relationships within their communities by building working relationships with other teams practicing green awareness.

However, LEED practices are not the final word in green plumbing. Environmentally aware plumbers make choices daily that affect the good of their local communities. Pipe and toilet disposal methods affect local ecosystems and should be leveraged accordingly. When removing pipes and water heaters, be sure to sell those pieces to metal recyclers for repurposing. Old toilets should be factored into this equation as well and sourced out to rebuilding centers.

The goal when removing materials from a home or business is to keep inorganic items out of landfills and to make sure that your clients are aware that the plumbing services you provide will better their homes, businesses and communities.

Another way to implement green measures is to consider water usage. The availability of water is not going to increase. The more we work toward conserving this vital resource, the more sustainable our communities will be. As plumbers, we deal with water circulation and drainage every day and can contribute much to this conversation. Encourage your clients to purchase a recirculation pump, which runs on little electricity and offsets water savings. In addition, this pump provides immediate hot water for your clients, a convincing benefit.

Your plumbing business runs on your integrity as a contractor. Employing green practices not only strengthens the communities in which you work but increases the value of your business in the eyes of potential clients. Just like the recirculation pump, green plumbing practices are a win for both you and those who contract your services.