Make a splash about water

Too many water efficiency guidelines are drowning designers with options and diluting progress on this vital issue.





View the full story, including all images and figures, in our monthly digital edition


Water is a natural resource that makes for highly regional circumstances—just ask Dec. 2009 shovel
Georgia, Tennessee, California, Nevada, New Mexico, and Arizona. Even if you live near the Great Lakes, the emphasis upon sustainability and resource conservation through advanced building design is timely and absolutely necessary.


Much of being green about water comes down to following codes, standards, and guidelines. Compared to energy efficiency, everyone seems to have their own idea of what constitutes water-use efficiency. As a result, there is a proliferation of water efficiency mandates, codes, specifications, standards, and guidelines throughout the U.S., which is largely unnecessary. Even after accounting for necessary regional differences that affect landscape design, irrigation, HVAC design and operation, and other water-using building elements, there are just too many differing green requirements for water.


In the residential sector, for example, there are at least three dozen sets of water efficiency requirements across the U.S. Most of these seem to have been developed by local or regional jurisdictions, sometimes with a limited understanding of what constitutes water-use efficiency in new building design.


Although the nonresidential sector has much fewer competing regulations and guidelines, the large number of existing and proposed green standards, codes, and guidelines could likewise be collected into one or two national standards and one or two sets of model codes.


For example, ASHRAE draft Standard 189.1 for High-Performance Buildings is competing in the marketplace with the Green Globes-Green Building Initiative (GBI), both of which are soon to be ANSI standards for green building. For model codes, the battle is between the International Assn. of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO) and the International Code Council (ICC), both of which are developing their own versions of green requirements.


The problem worsens when municipalities, states, and the water-utility industry ignore this work and go their own way. Product manufacturers and trade groups spend countless hours tracking all these initiatives so they can understand and meet the demands of the marketplace and manage their production. States and other code jurisdictions should adopt ANSI standards or model codes, which represent consensus-based decisions by the best minds in the business, rather than creating their own from scratch.


Regarding the proliferation of differing product and system requirements, the best answer is to have them align with the U.S. EPA's WaterSense program where applicable. The EPA launched the WaterSense product-labeling program in 2006 to promote water efficiency among U.S. consumers and design professionals. The WaterSense label is earned through third-party testing and independent certification to ensure products meet EPA's criteria for efficiency and performance. (No manufacturer self-certification!)


In 2009, WaterSense unveiled its first commercial standard, for high-efficiency flushing urinals, which has a 0.5 gal/flush maximum. When commercial products and design practices are released by WaterSense in 2010, they should be incorporated into green building codes and standards where applicable, thereby reducing or eliminating the variance among existing specifications.


I recommend that designers and specifiers become more proactive within the WaterSense program ( ) and aid in the development of uniform codes and standards for water-use efficiency.





Author Information

Koeller is a professional engineer with extensive experience in water-efficient technologies and products. He is the technical advisor to the Chicago-based international Alliance for Water Efficiency, and is a consultant to numerous water providers, green building organizations, and private sector firms.


No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2015 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
Safer human-robot collaboration; 2017 Maintenance Survey; Digital Training; Converting your lighting system
IIoT grows up; Six ways to lower IIoT costs; Six mobile safety strategies; 2017 Salary Survey
2016 Top Plant; 2016 Best Practices on manufacturing progress, efficiency, safety
Mobility as the means to offshore innovation; Preventing another Deepwater Horizon; ROVs as subsea robots; SCADA and the radio spectrum
Future of oil and gas projects; Reservoir models; The importance of SCADA to oil and gas
Big Data and bigger solutions; Tablet technologies; SCADA developments
Automation modernization; Predictive analytics enable open connectivity; System integration success; Automation turns home brewer into brew house
Commissioning electrical systems; Designing emergency and standby generator systems; Paralleling switchgear generator systems
Natural gas for tomorrow's fleets; Colleges and universities moving to CHP; Power and steam and frozen foods

Annual Salary Survey

Before the calendar turned, 2016 already had the makings of a pivotal year for manufacturing, and for the world.

There were the big events for the year, including the United States as Partner Country at Hannover Messe in April and the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September. There's also the matter of the U.S. presidential elections in November, which promise to shape policy in manufacturing for years to come.

But the year started with global economic turmoil, as a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing triggered a worldwide stock hiccup that sent values plummeting. The continued plunge in world oil prices has resulted in a slowdown in exploration and, by extension, the manufacture of exploration equipment.

Read more: 2015 Salary Survey

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.
This digital report will explore several aspects of how IIoT will transform manufacturing in the coming years.
Motion control advances and solutions can help with machine control, automated control on assembly lines, integration of robotics and automation, and machine safety.
Compressed air plays a vital role in most manufacturing plants, and availability of compressed air is crucial to a wide variety of operations.
Maintenance Manager; California Oils Corp.
Associate, Electrical Engineering; Wood Harbinger
Control Systems Engineer; Robert Bosch Corp.
click me