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Plumbing and Water Conservation

Plumbing, restrooms, green, water conservation

I'm Dan Hounsell, editor of Maintenance Solutions magazine. Today's topic is Manufacturers of plumbing fixtures are updating existing product and developing new technologies, all in an effort to help institutional and commercial facilities conserve water.

Some organizations are interested primarily in code-minimum buildings, while others have a goal of certification under the U.S. Green Building Council's rating system, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED. Still others are taking a more aggressive approach and want to go beyond LEED guidelines.

To ensure these products meet performance demands, maintenance and engineering managers should look for fixtures that feature a label from the WaterSense program, sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. WaterSense-labeled fixtures are third-party tested, ensuring compliance with the required effective flush volume and solid-waste removal.

When possible, managers with aggressive water-conservation goals should specify and install only fixtures that have the WaterSense label. WaterSense has not developed a specification for flushometer valves.

Managers also are going beyond high-efficiency toilets and looking at water-saving urinal technology.

Waterless urinals have been in successful operation for several years, and many managers with an aggressive sustainable approach and an ambitious maintenance program have been satisfied with the fixtures' performance. But manufacturers now are making a flush-type fixture that uses 1 pint of water per flush. It does not have the maintenance concerns of the waterless fixture, yet still conserves water.

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