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IAPMO Green Technical Committee To Tackle Sustainability Issues

April 30, 2008
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The IAPMO Green Technical Committee convened its first meeting April 9 in Chicago to develop green plumbing, mechanical and solar codes.

The IAPMO Green Technical Committee convened its first meeting April 9 in Chicago to develop green plumbing, mechanical and solar codes. The committee was formed in the wake of a directive from IAPMO’s board of directors to mandate a minimum 10 percent reduction in energy and water use through code changes that require sustainable construction practices over the next three years.

Chaired by Bill Erickson of CJ Erickson Plumbing Co., the committee has members who are contractors, engineers, union officials, association staff members, consultants and government employees. Along with creating separate green codes, the group will recommend changes to the Uniform Plumbing Code and Uniform Mechanical Code that incorporate sustainable construction.

“We have a core code and we will change the existing code by working in the new green code,” said committee member Doug Fredericksen of the city of Corona, Calif., Building Department.

David Viola of IAPMO’s Chicago office added: “If there’s anything in the code now that’s green, we can pull it out and put it in the new code.”

Among the plumbing issues to be considered by the new committee are: high-efficiency toilets and urinals; waterless and composting fixtures; pre-rinse spray valves; multi-headed shower systems; reduction in maximum water pressure; hot-water distribution systems; sizing methods to accommodate reduced demand in water piping; and water reuse, which includes gray water, reclaimed water, rainwater harvesting and siphonic roof drain systems.

“I’m not sure we know how big this elephant is,” said committee member and former ASPE President Larry Oliver of Glumac Engineers. “It goes way beyond fixtures and lifestyles.”

Committee members clashed briefly over how a green plumbing code should address multi-showerhead systems. While each showerhead might meet low-flow requirements, multiple shower outlets could be seen as using excessive water.

When one member suggested that the issue was too complicated for the committee to solve, Erickson replied, “If we don’t solve this, who is?”

The matter was referred to a fixture and fitting water usage task force led by committee member Shawn Martin of the Plumbing Manufacturers Institute. Gary Klein of Affiliated International Management, and formerly with the California Energy Commission, is leading a task force on water heating. Bill Hoffman of H.W. Hoffman and Associates is heading up a task force on water reuse.

On the list of mechanical issues to be addressed by the committee are: hydronic systems, including variable-speed pumps for large systems, zoning and balancing; ground-source heat pump systems; steam generators; boilers; co-generation; IAQ and ventilation efficiency; and environmentally safe refrigerants.

Other committee members include: Tom Meyer, Green Mechanical Council; Mike Massey, National ITC Corp. and PIPE Trust Fund; John Koeller, Koeller and Co.; Rodrigo Jara, United Association HVAC; James Majerowicz, UA Local 130; Doug Kirk, GreenPlumbers and California Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors; April Trafton, Donald Dickerson Associates; Thomas Pape, Best Management Partners; Amir Tabakh, Los Angeles Department of Building Safety; John Roeber, Roeber’s Inc. Plumbing, Heating, Cooling Contractors; Jordan Krahenbuhl, Clark County (NV) Building Department; John Roth, city of Houston (retired); and Steve Taylor, Taylor Engineering.

The committee tentatively scheduled its next meeting to be held in conjunction with IAPMO’s International Emerging Technology Symposium, which will take place Aug. 19-20 in Chicago. To view the IAPMO Green Newsletter, visit

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