This article first appeared in the December 2012 issue of Southern PHC magazine.
Jobs. Jobs. Jobs.
“You don’t stay in business without jobs,” says plumber/instructor Doug Kirk, “and IAPMO recognized years ago that the new economy is a water- and energy-efficient economy.”
IAPMO, of course, is the International Association of Plumbing & Mechanical Officials — a leader in plumbing, mechanical, swimming pool and solar codes. IAPMO is also an ANSI-recognized standards developer with its own testing labs, and the provisions of its Uniform Plumbing Code® (UPC) are the basis for plumbing codes that protect more than half of the world’s population.
IAPMO’s recognition of — and support for — efficiency and renewables has led the association into an all-out expansion in recent years that has resulted in:
• The acquisition of the accredited Green Plumbers Training Program
• Development of the Green Plumbing & Mechanical Code Supplement
• Formation of a new Solar Heating & Cooling division
• IAPMO R&T expanding into energy-efficient product certifications
Green Plumbers Training
Doug Kirk came over to IAPMO two years ago from Green Plumbers USA, when IAPMO acquired the accredited Green Plumbers Training Program. Green Plumbers was the first comprehensive training program that
envisioned plumbers as “champions of conservation” and potential leaders in what has now become critical: conserving our water resources. Kirk says plumbers don’t see themselves as environmentalists, but “when they get it — when they see that saving water is about jobs and business opportunities — they get excited!”
Thousands of plumbers across the country have taken the Green Plumbers Training, including many in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and Texas. Not surprisingly, water utilities are often the biggest supporters of water-efficiency training, and will work with contractor groups to sponsor the courses.
“The best training partnerships for us have been the water utilities,” said Steve Lehtonen, senior director of Environmental Education for IAPMO and the former CEO of Green Plumbers USA. “The city of Atlanta, Cobb County (Ga.), Denver Water, Marin Municipal Water District, Sonoma County Water — all of the really innovative water districts have been way ahead of the curve on green training, and they know that plumbers can be part of the water conservation solution.”
This year, Green Plumbers Training rolled out its Green Plumbers Reference Manual and the full five-course online version of its training.
“We know that our 32 hours of course material can be difficult for plumbers on a time and convenience level, so the online course makes a lot of sense for many contractors and plumbers,” Lehtonen said.
Still, it takes discipline to set aside the time on a nightly or weekly basis to get through the course. When a company has several plumbers registered for the training, Lehtonen encourages the contractor to take an active role in setting completion goals. And Kirk, IAPMO’s director of Green Plumbing curriculum, makes himself available for consultation as plumbers work their way through the course.
For information on Green Plumbers Training courses, please visit www.greenplumberstraining.org/pages/courseinfo.aspx.
Green Plumbing & Mechanical Code Supplement
IAPMO continues to lead the way in establishing voluntary measures for the installation and maintenance of sustainable plumbing and mechanical systems. In fact, IAPMO recently released the second edition of the Green Plumbing & Mechanical Code Supplement (GPMCS), the nation’s most comprehensive green construction code for plumbing and mechanical systems.
The GPMCS contains new or revised provisions in the areas of plumbing design, fixtures and fixture fittings; alternate water source systems; mechanical and HVAC design; and requirements for landscape irrigation systems. IAPMO’s Green
Technical Committee, which consists of a knowledgeable and diverse group of passionate industry stakeholders, compiled the new version of the GPMCS over the course of two years.
The GPMCS serves as a complement to any adopted plumbing and mechanical code, smoothly bridging the previously troublesome gap between existing codes and established green building programs. Where code language and green building concepts lack cohesion, the GPMCS creates harmony with provisions regarding alternate water sources, high-efficiency products, energy conservation and training/education.
In 2010, the state of Georgia enacted legislation using the GPMCS’ definitions for “water closet” and “WaterSense®,” as well as the supplement’s provisions for urinals and a modified version of its requirements for toilets and faucets.
Solar Heating & Cooling Division
IAPMO’s accredited Green Plumbers Training Program contains coursework for solar heating and cooling, but it became apparent to IAPMO’s CEO, GP Russ Chaney, that the global need to expand renewable energy output required a significant commitment from IAPMO.
“We were fortunate to obtain the services of Les Nelson as the director of our new Solar Heating & Cooling Division,” Chaney said. “Les’ considerable experience in solar is a perfect fit for IAPMO as it works to develop products and services for the solar industry and its end users, as well as for educators, regulators and policymakers.”
The IAPMO Group provides ANSI- and SCC-accredited product certification for solar water heating systems through IAPMO Research & Testing (R&T), and has just published the 2012 Uniform Solar Energy Code® (USEC). Developed in 1976, the USEC was the first — and remains the only — code dedicated to solar energy. With the launch of its solar heating and cooling program development effort, IAPMO will focus on the integration of solar heating-related continuing education and training programs through the existing accredited Green Plumbers Training Program. Earlier this year, Kennebec Valley Community College in Fairfield, Maine, became the first college in the country to offer a combined Energy Services and Technology program that provides the option of an Associate of Applied Science degree. The program combines a basic two-year plumbing course with certificate programs in solar heating and cooling and the Green Plumbers curriculum.
As an ANSI-accredited standards development organization, IAPMO has filed six Project Initiation Notifications with ANSI, all related to solar products and methodology.
IAPMO R&T: An Efficiency Compliance Resource
A key component of The IAPMO Group is IAPMO R&T, North America’s premier third-party certification body for plumbing and mechanical products. Accredited by ANSI in the United States and the Standards Council of Canada (SCC) in Canada, IAPMO R&T’s marks of conformity are widely recognized and represent the highest degree of integrity in showing compliance with established codes and standards.
IAPMO R&T is proud to certify product compliance with numerous energy- and water-efficiency programs. The optional IAPMO R&T Green Product Listing Certification to Green Codes, Standards and Ratings Systems offers manufacturers
a simple means to demonstrate compliance with any or all of the following: the 2010 California Green Building Standards Code (CALGreen); the IAPMO GPMCS; the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED® Rating System; and the Green Building Initiative’s Green Globes.
Sloan Valve Company earned Green Certification for its high-efficiency toilets and high-efficiency urinals, becoming the first manufacturer to do so for non-residential, commercial plumbing products. Sloan similarly received a listing for its HMA7000 model of the AQUS® water reuse system for residential and light commercial products.
Additionally, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recognizes IAPMO R&T as a certification body to the ENERGY STAR® product labeling system. Launched in 1992 as a joint program of the U.S. EPA and the U.S. Department of Energy, the voluntary ENERGY STAR® labeling program was expanded in 1995 to include residential heating and cooling equipment, and later major appliances, lighting and roof products. Users of ENERGY STAR®-qualified products saved about $18 billion on their energy bills in 2010, eliminating greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those from 33 million cars.
IAPMO R&T certifies the following products as ENERGY STAR® qualified: appliances, HVAC equipment, commercial food equipment, battery charging systems, luminaires and light strings, roof products and electric griddles.
“IAPMO R&T is honored to partner with ENERGY STAR® and help manufacturers demonstrate the energy-saving innovation of their product lines,” Chaney said. “Our firmly established expertise with many of these products makes us a natural choice for these forward-thinking product manufacturers.”
Additionally, IAPMO R&T has been a licensed provider of the voluntary U.S. EPA WaterSense® certification since 2007, certifying the first high-efficiency toilet in April of that year. The program aims to preserve water sources through the use of high-efficiency water-consuming plumbing products without sacrificing performance. IAPMO R&T has certified thousands of lavatory faucet, toilet, urinal and showerhead models to WaterSense® certifications.
Earlier this year, IAPMO R&T presented a WaterSense® seminar at the 17th Kitchen and Bath China Exhibition in Shanghai. EPA WaterSense® Lead Engineer Stephanie Tanner and IAPMO R&T Senior Director of Asia Pacific Operations Jin Luo were among the presenters. Luo outlined the comprehensive services The IAPMO Group offers, the new certification requirements on water efficiency, and the new federal Reduction of Lead in Drinking Water Act.
“The manufacturers who attended the seminar were very pleased with what they learned, and they really appreciated the opportunity to speak directly with the EPA’s WaterSense® representative and IAPMO R&T’s senior
director of Asia Pacific Operations,” said Ms. Simin Wu, director of the IAPMO Representative office in Beijing.
IAPMO R&T certifies products to a number of national and local codes governing plumbing systems in municipalities across the United States, including more than 1,200 products to the International Plumbing Code (IPC), which is largely adopted east of the Mississippi. IAPMO R&T also will add language demonstrating International Residential Code (IRC) compliance to any qualifying product with an existing IAPMO R&T listing certificate to the requirements of the IPC.
IAPMO has field representatives throughout the United States who assist with codes/standards adoption and offer chapter support at the local level.
“The perception that IAPMO is a West Coast association couldn’t be further from the truth,” said Bob Carpenter, regional manager for IAPMO Region 8. “IAPMO is steadily growing in the South as people in the industry learn that they have a voice and a vote in the code process.
“The IAPMO family of codes is increasingly being considered for adoption in the South as elected government officials and inspectors become more familiar with the benefits they provide to the public’s health, safety and
IAPMO’s regional managers in the Southern part of the United States are:
• Ron Lord, who represents Region 7 (Delaware, Kentucky, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia and Washington, D.C.). He may be reached by phone at (304) 264-6628 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
• Bob Carpenter, who represents Region 8 (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee). He may be reached by phone at (678) 380-8488 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
• John Mata, who represents Region 9 (Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas). He may be reached by phone at (281) 856-2029 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
A Bright (Green) Future
Since its founding in 1926, IAPMO has led the way in protecting much of the world’s health and safety through codes and standards development, education and training, and product testing and certification. And thanks to its new Green Plumbers Training Program and Solar Heating & Cooling Division, and IAPMO R&T’s sustainable marks of conformity, The IAPMO Group is leading the way to a more efficient future through more environmentally friendly plumbing
and mechanical systems.
The myriad resources The IAPMO Group offers will continue to provide its members with the tools they need to make sure they are fully knowledgeable about the latest technological advances — particularly green technology — and will be highly competitive in the new water- and energy-efficiency economy.