WASHINGTON — Five major industry groups and associations have joined forces to conduct basic research on water conservation, addressing issues such as drainline carry research for high efficiency toilets, non-water-using urinals, sizing of water efficient plumbing systems, and safe applications for re-use of water.
The Plumbing Heating and Cooling Contractors – National Association, International Association of Plumbing & Mechanical Officials, International Code Council, Alliance for Water Efficiency and the Plumbing Manufacturers Institute signed a Memorandum of Understanding at the Offices of U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Stephen Johnson at the beginning of January.
The Memorandum of Understanding that was signed by all parties creates a coalition, lead by the Alliance for Water Efficiency, wishing to work on specific plumbing research initiatives.
“The Alliance for Water Efficiency is pleased to be able to participate in this historic unity of the nation’s plumbing organizations on the subject of water efficiency research. By joining forces, we can collectively better use our resources to advance water efficiency research in areas where there is a common interest and need,” said Executive Director Mary Ann Dickinson. “We want to make sure that as we move forward with changes in water efficiency requirements, those changes are based on solid research in the field."
Funds for worthy projects will be sought from government agencies, foundations, and other interested parties. The Memorandum of Understanding does not commit any funds at this time.
“This is something that was suggested at a PMI meeting some time ago by [IAPMO representative] Pete DeMarco and the MOU formalizes the relationship have already with the groups that are signatory,” said Barb Higgens executive director of the Plumbing Manufacturers Institute. “This will lead to much-needed research, addressing questions on cutting the amount of water that goes through our products and how that affects product performance, like thermal shock from low-flow showers. Now we will have evidence based on the research that the MOU allows us to do.”
Each research project will be bid out separately with a Request for Proposal for each project, funded through grants that AWE will seek. Dickinson said that grant money would be sought from state, federal and private foundation sources. In some cases, manufacturers might pay for research on their products, she said.
“The plumbers are on the firing line when new technologies come to market,” PHCC’s Green Construction and Water Conservation Task Force Chairman Kevin Tindall said at the signing ceremony. “It is in our best interest to make sure they are truly effective, because if they aren’t we will be the ones the customer calls. We are proud to support this important effort to conserve water and energy in our communities.”
As a further example of PHCC’s commitment to water and energy conservation, Tindall announced that beginning in 2009 PHCC-NA will bring the national GreenPlumbers (www.greenplumbersusa.com) training and accreditation program to PHCC chapters across the country.
“This coalition ties in seamlessly with global water initiatives we’ve been engaged in with several noted international sanitation organizations over the past several years,” said Jay Peters, executive director of ICC’s Plumbing, Mechanical and Fuel Gas Group. “The timing also couldn’t be better given the incoming Administration’s initiative to upgrade our nation’s transportation infrastructure which naturally includes water mains, water treatment and sewer lines as well as roads.”
Peters noted that coalition members would share technical, scientific, legislative and regulatory information to develop comprehensive research projects. The common goal of all programs will be to improve water efficiency, while always being mindful of public health and safety. Actionable outcomes from these programs will naturally be shared with the entire plumbing industry to ensure that these water saving measures are properly implemented.
The collective expertise among the founding members of this coalition virtually guarantees the initiative will be highly successful which benefits the entire plumbing industry, the general public, and the planet, Peters said.