4 FM quick reads on green
1. Green Paint Certifications
Evaluating paint choices based on green attributes can be confusing if you don’t know what to look for.
There are three main green paint certifications. Green Seal looks at VOC levels. It also evaluates chemicals used in the manufacturing process and develops its standards in a public forum.
The Master Painters Institute certification develops green performance standards that take into account both a paint’s environmental attributes and its performance.
Greenguard certification focuses on indoor air quality. Paint is tested by placing a sample in a chamber where purified air blown across it. The air is then measured for chemicals as it leaves the chamber.
To be sure that the paint you’re specifying is really green, look for one or more of these certifications on the product.
2. Water-Efficiency Guidelines
I'm Dan Hounsell, editor of Maintenance Solutions magazine. Today's topic is plumbing systems and water conservation.
Maintenance and engineering managers responsible for ensuring the efficiency of plumbing systems in institutional and commercial facilities have seen a groundswell of national activity in recent years focusing on water conservation. New codes and standards now impact the way managers plan water-efficiency projects. Managers need to be aware of the many provisions of these initiatives, as well as changes to the regulations that can affect future decisions.
The initiatives fall into three categories: regulatory and legislative initiatives, including new codes and standards; updated green building initiatives; and assistance and information programs.
At both the national and state level, legislatures have enacted water-efficiency regulations. For example, the Energy Policy Act of 2005 established federal standards for plumbing fixtures. It also set efficiency standards for water-using appliances, and it provided tax incentives for efficient clothes washers and dishwashers. Congress has not set a date to update this legislation, but changes are likely in the near future. Congress is now working on at least 10 bills related to water efficiency.
States from coast to coast also have passed major water-efficiency legislation in recent years. Texas and California now have laws mandating that all tank-type toilets use no more that 1.28 gallons per flush by 2014, and one-third of states have some type of water-efficiency regulations.
Beyond that, city and local authorities are enacting ordinances ranging from design requirements for landscape irrigation to amendments to local plumbing codes requiring increased water efficiency.
In addition to plumbing-fixture requirements, managers need to be aware of changes to related areas, including: metering and measurement; use of alternate on-site water sources; new standards for landscape irrigation; and requirements for water-using equipment, including equipment used in food service, medical applications, water treatment, and laundry services.
Managers should use the available resources — including the Internet and professional associations — to stay abreast of the many changes occurring regarding water efficiency. By taking advantage of the benefits and being aware of upcoming regulatory and code changes, managers can both reduce future operating costs and increase the sustainability of their facilities.
3. Plumbing Systems and Sustainability
I'm Dan Hounsell, editor of Maintenance Solutions magazine. Today's topic is plumbing systems and sustainability.
Before taking on renovations or large-scale retrofits to improve water-use efficiency, maintenance and engineering managers should identify an approach for the project that will help them achieve the organization's sustainability goals. Properly specified, restroom faucets can help managers and their organizations achieve these goals.
Managers typically specify restroom faucets for three broad applications.
The first category is hand washing in public restrooms. Most codes require the fixtures use 0.5 gallons per minute (gpm). The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system requires these fixtures for public toilets.
The second category is for private fixtures occupants use for moderate hand washing and light bathing — face washing, shaving, or teeth brushing. Codes usually refer to these facilities as private lavatories. Common applications in this category are dormitories, gyms, locker rooms and workout areas. These fixtures also are appropriate for clinical areas, where workers must wash their hands regularly. For such applications, managers should not specify faucets that use more than 1.8 gpm.
The third category involves private fixtures occupants use for heavier hand washing, such as medical, culinary, and maintenance. These applications require more water. As a result, managers can specify 1.8-2.2 gpm fixtures. Most codes limit these fixtures to less than 2.2 gpm.
Finally, in some applications, users might have to actively clean and scrub their hands for a predetermined amount of time. In most cases, the water does not have to remain flowing during scrubbing. In situations such as this, managers can specify sensor-, foot-, or knee-operated fixtures.
4. Carpet Reclamation Costs
When calculating the life-cycle cost of carpeting options, don't overlook the cost of reclamation at the end of the product's life. A growing trend in the carpet industry is recycling carpet tiles to produce new product. Because of this, some manufacturers are offering carpet reclamation and transportation free of cost. With the green movement growing, there's an increasing desire for recycled content carpet from manufacturers — resulting in an end-of-life cost savings for facility managers.