Water Conservation & Efficiency
Although 70 percent of our planet is covered with water, less than one percent is drinkable. Recent events such as the Flint, Mich., water crisis and drought in the western United States are shining the spotlight on a growing global issue.
The International Code Council Family of Companies has several resources available to assist jurisdictions, manufacturers and the public with water conservation and efficiency. For decades, ICC’s codes and standards have addressed water-related issues and we remain committed to working with Member jurisdictions and industry partners to bring water efficient products to market, labeling new homes and structures as more water efficient, and spreading the word about the need for smart water use.
Water and the I-Codes
The 2015 International Residential Code (IRC) contains many of the same water efficiency provisions that are noted in the IPC. The provisions in the IRC for collecting, storing, and using various types of no-potable water recognize the growing need for water conservation and the increase in the development of water conservation programs in many regions of the United States.
The 2015 International Plumbing Code (IPC) incorporates innovative technologies including waterless urinals and detailed engineered designs that permit the installation of smaller, more precise water usage and water drainage systems, resulting in the savings of millions of gallons of water.
The International Green Construction Code (IgCC) contains provisions for the collection, treatment, and storage and use of non-potable water in the form of onsite collected rainwater and graywater, and externally treated reclaimed water supplied to the site. In response to a call from industry and in a deal nearly two years in the making, ICC and ASHRAE last year signed a final agreement that outlined each organization’s role in the future development and maintenance of the IgCC.
This International Private Sewage Disposal Code (IPSDC), co-published with the National Onsite Wastewater Recycling Association (NOWRA), includes provisions for design, installation, and inspection of private sewage disposal systems, and provides flexibility in the development of safe systems. The IPSDC facilitates the use of the latest science-based best practices and innovative technologies in safely handling onsite, decentralized wastewater, thereby reducing customers' costs. The IPSDC also addresses inconsistencies within many regulations that dictate how decentralized systems can be designed, installed, and operated.
Ensure your community is using the latest codes with the latest water conservation and efficiency best practices. These sample ordinances will provide you the templates that will help you!
Additional tools to help you advance this important cause:
Water and Standards
National Green Building Standard
A collaborative effort between the Code Council and the National Association of Home Builders, the ICC 700 National Green Building Standard provides “green” practices that can be incorporated into new homes. The 2012 edition features a separate chapter for remodeling. Small projects such as kitchen and bathroom remodels now have their own path within the rating system. This standard contains advanced requirements for energy and water efficiency. Point assignments for water efficiency practices have been adjusted to more accurately reflect actual water savings.
Rainwater Harvesting and Landscape Irrigation Standards
The Rainwater Collection System Design Consensus Committee (IS-RCSDI) was appointed by the ICC Board of Directors in collaboration with CSA in late 2013 and has primary responsibility for the development of the Rainwater Collection System Design and Installation Standard.
ICC and the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers released the new Landscape Irrigation Sprinkler and Emitter Standard to classify sprinkler and drip irrigation systems, set uniform testing procedures, and establish minimum design and performance requirements for commercial and residential landscape irrigation components.
Pool Solar Heating and Cooling Standard
This Pool Solar Heating and Cooling Standard is being developed through the Code Council, Solar Rating and Certification Corporation (ICC-SRCC) and the APSP. The consensus committee was appointed by the ICC Board of Directors in July 2015.
Water and Product Evaluation and Accreditation
Built on the same framework of integrity that has helped the ICC Evaluation Service become an industry-recognized expert in building products for more than 70 years, the ICC-ES PMG Listing Program has broader acceptance of building and plumbing officials in North America. ICC-ES is a licensed certifying body of the Environmental Protection Agency’s WaterSense program while the International Accreditation Service is an approved accreditation body.
Water and the ICC PMG Official Membership Council
ICC’s PMG Official Membership Council is unique in that it reaches out to the plumbing, mechanical, fuel gas and swimming pool industries that include tradespeople, inspectors, code officials and others who have an interest in safe and healthier communities. Communities throughout history have needed to safely provide clean water. The PMG Official Membership Council is made up of a great team of professionals who recognize the importance and challenges that lay ahead in providing a more efficient means of cleaning and using water. They care about vibrant neighborhoods and communities and realize the importance of a safe and sanitary built environment.
- Protecting the Potable Water Supply
- ICC Resources in Place to Support Critical Water Issues in Western States
- Cracking the Code
- ICC Partners with Consumer Product Safety Commission’s Pool Safely Campaign
- Evaporation Study Compares Water Savings of Pool Covers
- Safe Water Drinking Act: 2014 Requirements for Lead in Plumbing Products
Water and the PMG Industry
ICC recently announced a partnership with the Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET) in the development of the Water Efficiency Rating Index . The WER Index establishes a system to rate a home's efficiency in water use. ICC also is a partner in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s WaterSense program. Products and services that earn the WaterSense label with the ICC Evaluation Service certification mark are certified to be at least 20 percent more water efficient without sacrificing performance.
- ICC and NOWRA Partnership Among Industry Efforts Focused on Wastewater on World Water Day
- ICC is Going with the Flow at the USA Science & Engineering Festival
- ICC World Water Day Events Shine the Spotlight on Growing Global Issue
- ICC, ASABE Standard Referenced in California Emergency Drought Plan
- ICC, RESNET Developing a Water Efficiency Rating Index Standard
- ICC-ES Partners with EPA to Promote Water Conservation
- ICC, ASHRAE Publish New Code Resource for Water Efficiency
- Plumbing Efficiency Research Coalition Releases Drainline Transport Report
- ICC, CSA Group Seek Comments on Rainwater Harvesting Standard
- Water Conservation and Restroom Design
- Our Responsibility to Assure Safe Water is More Important than Ever
- 2016-2017 IDA Water Desalination Yearbook
- US Water Alliance 2016 Annual Report
Flint, Mich., Water Crisis
- NSF International Publishes Consumer Guide in Response to Flint, Mich., Water Issues
- Following Flint’s Lead, Milwaukee Acts Next
- Lawsuit Seeks Removal of Lead Pipes in Chicago