Which Steps Can the Plumbing/Mechanical Industries Take to Encourage Businesses and Individuals to 'Go Green'?

In the spirit of the sharing of unique experiences that shape the plumbing industries in our respective nations, the following essay was a finalist in IAPMO’s annual Scholarship Essay Competition. First introduced in 2009 and open to members and their children of IAPMO and many of IAPMO’s industry partners, the competition has elicited entries from all over the world. Written by Laura Biggie of the University of La Verne, it is the next in a regular series of similar articles that will run in this magazine.

GP Russ Chaney
IAPMO CEO


By: Laura Biggie

A well-known saying in the sales and marketing industry states: “Everyone’s favorite radio station is WIIFM” – or “What’s in it for me?” When the plumbing and mechanical industries approach green building systems with a “what’s in it for me and my clients” mindset, consumers will be more likely to listen and follow the green trend. By marketing an easier way of installing plumbing and mechanical systems — all while doing your part to help the environment and save money in the process — businesses and individuals will stampede toward the direction of ‘green’. Education in green technologies and return on investment will drive the industry toward green practices.

Companies as well as individuals need to justify any costs associated with upgrading plumbing and mechanical systems. Initially there may not even be an added cost when special green methods are employed. Our recent experience and failure with photovoltaic power and electric cars should remind everyone that “saving the environment” by various means, including conservation alone, is not, and cannot be the sole motivating factor for consumers. The main goal should be educating consumers about benefits of saving water and energy that focuses on the consumer’s bottom line budget in these tough economic times. In another word, green conservation efforts will materialize when the consumer sees its positive effect in their cost savings.

Arguably, providing education to the consumer might be the only real answer that can promote green practices. Most of us remember five gallon-per-flush toilets, so the thought of a 1.28 gallon-per-flush model does not seem possible. “Darn those bureaucrats for writing these new laws that limit my ability to flush properly!” which I as inspector must have heard many times in addition to observing various clients and their contractors threatening to take out the “low flow” toilets immediately after they passed inspection because “these toilets do not work and no one likes them!”

Read more about this feature in Plumbing Africa September 2014 Volume 20 No 7 page 29.

Revisiting Haiti

By: Mike Flenniken

A plumber and engineer that helped out during the Haiti earthquake return to see how a struggling nation is bouncing back from the devastating earthquake


As Haiti struggles to recover from the 2010 earthquake that killed more than 300 000 people and devastated most of the nation’s infrastructure, the effort continues to provide residents with safe drinking water.

In May 2012, plumber Fred Schilling spent a week in Haiti, hosting plumbing workshops and helping students from Haiti Tec install a water-purification system from start to finish. The system had been designed and donated by World Water Partners, a student group at Seattle University.

Read more: Revisiting Haiti

Which steps can the Plumbing/Mechanical Industries Take to Encourage Businesses to ‘Go Green’?

By: Summer Higdon

It seems that everywhere I turn, someone is telling me to “Go Green!” and I have whole-heartedly embraced the idea. In an effort to lessen my personal impact on the environment, I take shorter showers, have cut out meat from my diet, and take the bus or walk to work and class whenever possible.

In fact, I have decided to dedicate my life to studying and discovering humans’ impacts on and interactions with the wilderness. I have seen time and time again that convenience can easily dominate the will to maintain a sustainable lifestyle. In order to encourage businesses to be sustainable, it is imperative that being sustainable be made easy and convenient. IAPMO can help encourage sustainable practices by serving as an example and a resource to the plumbing and mechanical businesses and individuals with which it interacts.

Read more: Which steps can the Plumbing/Mechanical Industries Take to Encourage Businesses to ‘Go Green’?

The brightest minds under the sun – part 2

Continued from February 2014 … (Read part 1 here)

By: Mike Flenniken

In the previous issue we ended off with the overall winning team from Austria. Now, team UNLV designed its entry, DesertSol, “to reflect the spirit of the Mojave Desert.” A weathered wood rain screen shades the structure, and digitally fabricated retractable solar shade screens shield the hottest sides of the house in the summer and provide direct sun for warmth in the winter.

Read more: The brightest minds under the sun – part 2

Radiant: more than just for floors

Story by: Mike Flenniken

More than 25 years ago, Richard Trethewey walked onto the set of the popular home improvement TV show This Old House and announced to the host, Norm Abram, that they would be doing a radiant floor project using cross-linked polyethylene tubing.

Heating and cooling floors using radiant technology was a relatively unknown practice at the time, but that spotlight on This Old House was really the big kickoff for radiant flooring, said Mark Eatherton, executive director of the Radiant Professionals Alliance.

Read more: Radiant: more than just for floors

The brightest minds under the sun

By: Mike Flenniken

A team from Austria’s Vienna Institute of Technology took home the top prize in the 2013 US Department of Energy (DOE) Solar Decathlon, besting 18 other teams in what officials said was the closest finish in the decathlon’s history.

First held in Washington D.C., in 2002, this was the first time the Solar Decathlon was held outside of the nation’s capital. Looking to expand the competition’s audience, organisers selected Orange County Great Park — a former Marine Corps air station that is being transformed into a 526ha metropolitan park — after a nationwide search.

Read more: The brightest minds under the sun

PA PD TP PO SA Plumbers Handbook Logo Plumbing newsletter

Talk to us

AVAILABLE MONDAY - FRIDAY, 8 AM - 4 PM

Connect with us

Keep in touch via your favourite social media