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IAPMO Releases First-Ever Green Plumbing and Mechanical Code Supplement

The Sustainable Building Industry today has a powerful and revolutionary new tool at its disposal with the formal release of IAPMO’s Green Plumbing and Mechanical Code Supplement, the most comprehensive document ever created to standardize sustainable residential and commercial plumbing and mechanical systems.

“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 serves as a complement to any adopted plumbing and mechanical code, smoothly bridging the previously troublesome gap between existing codes and established green building programs. Where code language and green building concepts lack cohesion, the Green Supplement creates harmony by addressing 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

IAPMO’s Board of Directors created the GTC and charged these individuals with the development of the Green Supplement in an effort to fulfill the Board’s call for a reduction in energy and water consumption as permitted in the Uniform Codes. Established in January 2008 and comprised of a who’s who of industry leaders in all facets of the sustainable plumbing and mechanical fields, the 25-member GTC (and 60 other plumbers, contractors, engineers, inspectors and energy/water conservation experts enlisted for task groups) was chaired by IAPMO Board Member Bill Erickson of CJ Erickson Plumbing.

“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. As you know, a code cycle takes 3-5 years and we cannot wait five years for products that are advanced or highly sophisticated before they are approved by the code. 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 about the Green Supplement and/or IAPMO’s commitment to a sustainable environment, please direct your Web browser to www.iapmo.org/Pages/IAPMO_Green.aspx or contact Maria Bazan at (708) 995-3000 or maria.bazan@iapmo.org.

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