Water saving in the IPC
The International Plumbing Code (IPC) is the only plumbing code that correlates with the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC). The introduction of this globally adopted energy code marked the beginning of the green movement in the code arena. The International Code Council has been involved with green initiatives and sustainability for many years. The plumbing provisions within the IPC are among the most widely adopted and sustainable-minded in the world.
For more than a decade, the IPC has incorporated innovative technologies like waterless urinals and detail engineered designs permitting the installation of smaller, more precise water and drainage systems, resulting in the savings of millions of gallons of water and the installation of countless miles of conduit materials.
The IPC is not just a code, but a part of a complete building safety system, providing an integral component necessary to stay current with the latest building safety technologies while meeting the public health, sanitation and safety requirements necessary for the built environment. The IPC is a performance-based code, very flexible in its approach to water-saving issues and encourages innovative design and technologies.
Let’s take a closer look at the waterless urinal. The waterless urinal not only is a great water conservation tool but is also considered by most health agencies to be more sanitary than a standard urinal since it is a non-touch device. So how much water does a waterless urinal save? It really depends on the type of facility. The amount typically quoted by water conservation experts is that one waterless urinal can result in 35,000 gallons of water saved per year. Whether the urinal installation is of a waterless urinal or the new hybrid urinal there is considerable savings.
Armstrong World Industries’ corporate headquarters located on a 700-acre campus in Lancaster, Penn., was originally constructed in 1998. The glass and steel building consists of two wings connected by a daylit atrium. In 2006 the project earned an Energy Star label from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and in 2007 it earned a platinum rating in the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED for Existing Buildings Rating System. The building’s use of water was dramatically reduced with the installation of waterless urinals, dual-flush toilets and water sensors for the faucets. A malfunction in the humidification process was also discovered that was wasting more than 28,000 gallons of water each year. In all, nearly half of the building’s annual use of potable water was reduced from 800,000 to 420,000 gallons.
The introduction of siphonic roof drainage technology has been included for years in the IPC and provides a typical savings of 20 percent to 45 percent from reduced pipe diameters, significantly less below grade drainage and reduced trenching requirements. Horizontal pipes are installed flat level, without grade, which eases coordination with other trades. The environmental benefits include routing to harvesting, retention and reclamation systems. Fewer down spouts will make it easier to transport the rainwater from the roof to the retention area, which can include rain barrels, cisterns, drainage ponds and other storage tanks. The system has the potential to provide many water saving benefits at a lower cost impact on the owner.
Contact the Code Council’s PMG Listing Program to see what products are listed. Inspectors rely on plumbing, mechanical and fuel gas (PMG) listings issued by the ICC Evaluation Service (ICC-ES) because of the quality of the review conducted by ICC-ES PMG engineers.