By Francesca Dunbar, Group Marketing Director, McWane Plumbing Group The “green and sustainable” building movement has evolved from a marginal movement to fully evolving as an acceptable mainstream force. The increased adoption of sustainable building materials is having a positive impact as they have many attributes including; increasing energy efficiency, ensuring life safety and even Read More
By Francesca Dunbar, Group Marketing Director, McWane Plumbing Group
The “green and sustainable” building movement has evolved from a marginal movement to fully evolving as an acceptable mainstream force. The increased adoption of sustainable building materials is having a positive impact as they have many attributes including; increasing energy efficiency, ensuring life safety and even improving building air quality. Companies are continuously looking for ways to be “green” and the appearance to be friendlier to the environment. It’s just good business!
For many, “green” conjures up visions of the hippie counter culture movement with granola eating tree-huggers that adorn themselves with tie-dyed t-shirts and ugly sandals. No offense to those that live this lifestyle as they spurred the “green” movement and were way ahead of the curve as visionaries. Now, it’s widely acceptable to embrace our inner “GREENIE” in business by adopting strategies for a long-term sustainability plan. The scrap metal dealers also saw the future in sustainability as they carefully put in place a large network of yards to ensure a steady stream of scrap supply. Not only has the general public demanded change but the market has been the driving force in green and sustainable building practice. In the recent past, a number of state and local governments began to adopt regulations and initiatives focusing on green and sustainable building where new codes and laws have been put in place such as the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA 2007). But there are also standards such as ASTM E2432 Standard Guide for the General Principles of Sustainability Relative to Building and ASHRAE 189.1 Standard for Design of Green Building – these codes and standards ensure for optimization of energy use, building space and indoor environmental quality (IEQ). It is government regulation that will push this movement forward. Now, Builders, Developers and Contractors are taking a look at re-evaluating building materials and opting to use sustainable products that are not only non-toxic, but also non-combustible.
This is something companies such as AB&I Foundry, a leading American producer of cast iron pipe and fittings, has been doing for decades. Their products are made from 100-percent post-consumer scrap metal and even used pipe and fittings are recyclable bringing it back full-circle. They are basically a GIANT recycler diverting discarded waste such as engine blocks, wheels, and other scrap metals and then melt it in their cupola in order to make cast iron pipe and fittings. These materials otherwise would have ended up in landfills. There are significant advantages to recycling and repurposing metals as it can be sourced within 50-miles of the foundry and AB&I was one of the earliest pioneers of the upcycling movement. The advantages of metallic piping far outweighs the perceived benefits of low-cost plastic as cast iron is durable, it’s non-combustible and it’s 100% recyclable at the end of service life. The advantages of metallic piping far outweighs the perceived benefits of low-cost plastic as cast iron is durable, it’s non-combustible and it’s 100% recyclable at the end of service life. Whereas plastics are sourced from petroleum, continuously off-gas toxins and are combustible releasing toxins when burned.
The plumbing industry had a motto with the iconic plumber silhouetted by the moon “The Plumber Protects the Health of the Nation” – this is true as the lack of sanitation brought disease wiping out hundreds of thousands of people throughout history. The protection and conservation of water is paramount to today’s society and building owners and developers have implemented water efficiencies from low flow toilets to water efficient fixtures. Also measures are being taken to reclaim graywater through recovery systems using the non-potable water for toilet flushing and landscape irrigation.
Science is a driving factor in identifying ways to produce better materials. There’s a project called Materials for Life (M4L), researchers from the School of Engineering at the University of Cardiff, in Wales are undergoing tests for self-healing concrete technologies where shape-memory polymers can be activated by electrical current, one with healing agents made from both inorganic and organic compounds and another with capsules containing bacterial and healing agents. The goal is to develop an autonomous infrastructure for roads, tunnels, bridges and buildings that can self-repair without human intervention. A sort of A.I. for building materials – the creation of sustainable and resilient systems that continually monitor, regulate, and adapt and then repair themselves.
The construction of healthier buildings is driving owners and developers as they are realizing the benefits of healthier building and the attraction for occupants that are increasingly more aware of their environment. There are simple ways to eliminate the presence of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in building products that benefit not only occupants, but in a fire also reduce exposure to first responders. It’s no coincidence that schools and high-rise buildings use cast iron soil pipe and fittings for the drain, waste and vent plumbing systems as plastic is a known toxic product and life safety is paramount.
Products include; wall coverings, flooring and even upholstered furnishings. Many products continue to off-gas vapors and gases and these can affect occupants’ health from respiratory tract issues, headaches and dizziness and even long-term exposure that can cause organ damage. Green is not a fade, it’s a movement that is environmentally friendly and is here to stay. There was a movement to “get the lead out” of plumbing fixtures that was a known cause to contaminating drinking water.
Furthermore, In order to create more transparency in the manufacturing of building products, programs have been developed to declare that products meet certain environmental standards – Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) and Health Product Declarations (HPD). They concentrate on disclosing the product’s list of ingredients or recipe. While EPDs focus on the impact of the product on the environment from cradle to grave in their lifecycle. The EPDs focus on the Life Cycle Assessment or (LCA).
In 2014, the WELL Building Standard was launched with the mission to enhance the health and well-being of building occupants. This newly implemented standard not only measures, certifies and monitors occupant health and well-being but it also addresses key areas including; air, water, nourishment, light, fitness and comfort — taking the green and sustainable practices to their highest level. In a recent study conducted by Booz Allen Hamilton for the USGBC, they expect green construction spending to increase from $150.6 billion in 2015 to $224.4 billion in 2018. The study also predicts that between 2015 and 2018, green construction will generate $303.4 billion in Gross Domestic Product (GDP), support 3.9 million jobs and provide $268.4 billion in labor earnings.
Now, isn’t it time to embrace the “green” movement and start reducing the toxic load of buildings?
About Francesca Dunbar
Francesca has been the Group Marketing Director of McWane Plumbing Group since 2012. She has a diverse background building and promoting companies with innovative and strategic leadership. In 2016 she was recognized as Industry Leading Ladies. She has spent decades building a respected reputation with major corporations and non-profit foundations. Her roots were deep in leadership for a high-tech industry before departing corporate life in 2000 to launch her marketing consulting career. She is also passionate about giving back and served on several non-profit foundation boards. As an officer on the board of directors for The National Brain Tumor Foundation, she was an integral member of the team that led a successful merger. Dunbar is also a published writer of industry articles and technical papers, and previously a contributing editor for a lifestyle magazine. Dunbar is a member of ASA, American Society of Plumbing Engineers and trained Installer of fire protection products.
An estimated 12 percent of the water that supplies U.S. houses is wasted on leaks, spilling more than 775 billion gallons of water each year, according to the 2016 Residential End Uses of Water study. March 20-26 is Fix a Leak Week—an EPA-WaterSense awareness initiative—and FloLogic, makers of an intelligent leak detection device, urges residents Read More
An estimated 12 percent of the water that supplies U.S. houses is wasted on leaks, spilling more than 775 billion gallons of water each year, according to the 2016 Residential End Uses of Water study. March 20-26 is Fix a Leak Week—an EPA-WaterSense awareness initiative—and FloLogic, makers of an intelligent leak detection device, urges residents to take pragmatic and technological steps toward fighting the resource waste and financial burden of plumbing leaks.
Water’s relative low cost creates a common misperception that leaking fixtures are harmless. In fact, among the more than 23,000 houses that participated in the recent water use study, 10 percent were found to waste at least 90 gallons of water each day with leaks. In most cases, leaks either visibly or stealthily go down the drain, or are absorbed into the ground, without damage to property. These so-perceived benign leaks are most commonly found in plumbing fixtures. But even the smallest leaks add up. A slow, two-drip-per-second leak will produce 77 gallons of water in just one week.
“Most homeowners don’t have the awareness or mechanisms to detect leaks,” according to Chuck DeSmet, CEO and Founder of FloLogic, whose FloLogic System features smart leak detection and automatic water shut-off for preventing water damage to property. “But there are common places where leaks often present themselves, where inspections will reveal opportunities to save water. And for homeowners who care to catch every leak in real time, and prevent potentially catastrophic damage, there are innovative detection devices that flag leaks to automatically stop them.”
Leaks that don’t go directly into the drain or ground are more troublesome and also common. Leaks from ruptured supply lines or damaged pipes and fittings strike up to eight percent of homes each year, according to a U.S. Housing Study. While these leaks typically get fixed upon discovery to prevent costly damage, when they go undetected, due to out-of-sight location or the resident being off premises, they can immediately ruin property, and create a long-term environment for mold.
The total cost of home plumbing leaks is difficult to measure, but DeSmet points to Insurance Information Institute data that confirms more than $10 billion in water loss claims are paid out in the U.S. each year, and suggests the real cost is much higher, without even factoring in excessive water utility bills. “Water is a powerful force and even small drips onto home infrastructures can cause many thousands in damage within a short period of time. While leaks are the second leading contributor of home insurance payouts, our studies indicate more than half of damage-inducing leaks are never reported to insurance.”
For Fix a Leak Week, FloLogic urges everyone to consider practical tips to find and stop water leaks:
- Check the water bill: A family of four will typically use 12,000 gallons (16 centum cubic feet) per month. Usage in excess of this amount indicates a likely leak.
- Check toilets: Warn-out flappers are a primary water waster. Listen for toilets that refill between flushes. Find slow leaks by dropping food coloring in tanks; if the bowl takes color without a flush, there’s a leak.
- Check interior faucets: Drips from sink and tub faucets, and showerheads, are easy to spot, but often ignored. Repair or replace warn parts to curb water-wasting drips.
- Look outside: Outside hose or irrigation system leaks are often overlooked. Check for drips and moist ground during dry weather to find preventable leaks.
- Get leak detection: A flow-based leak detection device, such as that offered from flologic.com will detect leaks as small as a drip per second and automatically shut them off. While the primary function of FloLogic is to prevent property damage, it has the added benefit of flagging hidden leaks to save natural resources and money on water bills.
About FloLogic, Inc.
FloLogic is a technology company whose patented smart water valve enables home and business owners to reduce or eliminate the economic and personal losses associated with plumbing failures and leaks. Plumbing related property damage costs the insurance industry billions of dollars each year and is the single most preventable homeowner claim. While preventing leak damage, the Company is affecting the 12 percent of water that is wasted each year due to plumbing leaks. The FloLogic System is succinctly known as “the circuit breaker for every plumbing system®.” More information can be found at www.flologic.com.
About Fix a Leak Week
Fix a Leak Week is an annual event first launched in 2009 by WaterSense, a partnership program sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). WaterSense seeks to protect our water supply through water-saving education and products. The WaterSense label can be found on a variety of plumbing products that meet standards for reducing water waste. Educational materials can be found at https://www3.epa.gov/watersense/our_water/howto.html.
About the Residential End Uses of Water Study
The Residential End Uses of Water Study was created by the Water Research Foundation and combines data on water use that is collected across 23 study sites, including 23,749 homes. The second volume of the study was published in April 2016 and can be viewed at http://www.waterrf.org/PublicReportLibrary/4309A.pdf.
Uponor is continuing to bring innovation, confidence, value and performance to PEX piping systems with the launch of its new re-engineered ProPEX® lead-free (LF) brass valves for residential plumbing applications. Re-engineered to offer the same amount of flow with a more compact design for greater installation efficiencies and higher performance, they are the only leading Read More
Uponor is continuing to bring innovation, confidence, value and performance to PEX piping systems with the launch of its new re-engineered ProPEX® lead-free (LF) brass valves for residential plumbing applications. Re-engineered to offer the same amount of flow with a more compact design for greater installation efficiencies and higher performance, they are the only leading valves on the market to meet building codes IPC, UPC and IRC as well as being listed to NSF 14, NSF 61, NSF 359 and NSF 372 for superior confidence in a product that is code-compliant and listed for all plumbing installations. In addition, the valves are now backed by an extended 10-year warranty and are available at a more cost-effective price to bring even greater value to a residential plumbing project.
The FLO2 valve division of Greenergy Corporation has successfully completed IAPMO/UPC testing for its new line of wastewater diverter valves. Manufactured in both ABS and PVC, these valves answer the call for true DW listed diversion in rainwater and greywater recycling systems where until now there has been no option except to use diverters designed Read More
The FLO2 valve division of Greenergy Corporation has successfully completed IAPMO/UPC testing for its new line of wastewater diverter valves.
Manufactured in both ABS and PVC, these valves answer the call for true DW listed diversion in rainwater and greywater recycling systems where until now there has been no option except to use diverters designed for pools and spas. These will be offered with manual or actuated operation.
Using an innovative sweeping ported ball design, FLO2 vales will be available off-the-shelf in 2” and 3” sizes, with sizes up to 6” available upon request. There are also plans for 4 and 5-way configurations.
Powers today unveiled a press connection option for select HydroGuard® mixing valves. With the press option, valves can be used in new construction, as well as in renovation projects as an alternative to a sweat/solder joint. Press technology provides a way to join copper tubing to brass and bronze valves more efficiently than with soldering Read More
Powers today unveiled a press connection option for select HydroGuard® mixing valves. With the press option, valves can be used in new construction, as well as in renovation projects as an alternative to a sweat/solder joint.
Press technology provides a way to join copper tubing to brass and bronze valves more efficiently than with soldering. This approach offers both time and labor savings over soldering.
Press connections also allow installers to create a watertight seal that is strong, consistent, and reliable and avoid soldering issues such as fire, smoke, and the need for fire watches.
For more information, visit www.PowersControls.com.