LAS VEGAS — More than 1,000 plumbing and water conservation professionals from 42 states and 12 foreign nations participated in the second WaterSmart Innovations Conference and Exposition held here in mid-October.
Presented by the Southern Nevada Water Authority in partnership with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's WaterSense program, and the American Water Works Association, WSI offered 130 professional sessions in a variety of tracks as well as an expo hall featuring 100 exhibitors from around the world.
Many of those presentations were put on by well-known names in the plumbing industry, including consulting engineers John Koeller, Koeller & Co., and Bill Gauley, Veritec Consulting, who created the Maximum Performance Test for 1.6-gpf and 1.28-gpf toilets; engineer Bill Hoffman, H.W. Hoffman LLC, who sits on the Green Technical Committee for the International Association of Plumbing & Mechanical Officials; IAPMO's Dave Viola, staff secretary for the Green Technical Committee; hot water and structured plumbing expert Gary Klein, Affiliated International Management; and Steve Lehtonen and his daughter, Megan Lehtonen, who is president of GreenPlumbersUSA.
Texas-based engineer Hoffman presented attendees with numerous ideas about non-traditional water sources inside buildings; the possibilities go way beyond rainwater and graywater. Foundation drain water is usually pumped away by a sump pump. It can, instead, be pumped into tanks and used for irrigation. Air conditioning condensate is so pure that it can be pumped directly into the cooling tower sump.
Members of the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating & Air-conditioning Engineers committee for proposed water standard, SPC 191, “Standard for the Conservation of Water Use in Building, Site and Mechanical Systems,” met at WaterSmart. The committee, though, did not have a quorum at WaterSmart, so it could not conduct official business. Attendees did, however, discuss whether the standard should be a minimum standard, like ASHRAE's landmark energy standard, Standard 90.1, or a “push” standard like its green building standard, 189P. The committee is under the gun, noted Chairman John Swift, Cannon Design, because its first “deliverable” is a first draft due at ASHRAE's mid-year meeting next June.
Several innovative products were displayed at the tradeshow.
Niagara Conservation introduced the Stealth toilet that flushes at 0.8-gpf. The toilet mechanism depressurizes the trapway, so waste is sucked out of the bowl by the partial vacuum.
Fluidmaster showed a sophisticated Dual Flush Series siphonic valve that solves a problem plaguing many dual flush valves — the inability to adjust properly both the bowl and trap fill for full and half flushes. Fluidmaster's valve has multiple adjustments for both water levels, so the plumber can get the water levels exactly right. Fluidmaster will sell the valve first to OEMs before moving it into the plumbing service and replacement market.
Grundfos showed its line of variable speed pumps for use in structured plumbing systems.
Kohler Co. was chosen by the EPA's WaterSense program as the Manufacturing Partner of the Year for the second time in as many years as the award has been in existence.
“Kohler is honored to be recognized by the EPA for the company's efforts promoting the WaterSense program,“ said David Kohler, president and COO for Kohler Co.
The Partner of the Year awards recognize WaterSense partners who help advance the overall mission of WaterSense; increase awareness of the WaterSense program in a measurable way; and demonstrate overall excellence in the water-efficiency arena.
GreenPlumbers, the environmental training program for plumbers, held a series of five green plumbing workshops. The workshops, encompassing 32 hours of continuing education for plumbers, included training on water conservation, solar hot water and new technologies.
The GreenPlumbers training program is open to all recognized plumbers and contractors. The program is partnered with the United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipefitting Industry, The Intl. Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials, WaterSense, and other industry organizations and associations.
The third WSI conference is slated for Oct. 6-8, 2010, at the South Point Hotel and Conference Center. More information is available at: www.WaterSmartInnovations.com.