The US Green Building Council (USGBC) is revamping the LEED rating system this year with significant changes to boost sustainability over the long haul. LEED 2012 is going through a third public comment period now, with a proposed October launch.
One notable update involves making sure that performance of key equipment and energy-saving procedures remain robust for many years after certification. There are separate sections for establishment and performance. Building owners will need to periodically perform audits and measure energy use. The new emphasis will be to ensure that LEED-certified buildings are really achieving the performance that USGBC wants.
Another change is a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) to determine environmental impacts of material usage and waste disposal. LCA, an analytical tool, is used to assess environmental impacts associated with all stages of a product’s life, including the processing of the product’s raw materials, its manufacture, its distribution, its end use, and recycling, reuse, and final disposal.
For example, a product that is beneficial for a building but requires a lot of energy in its production or cannot be recycled may be considered an environmental liability. This could open the door to another product that may appear less beneficial at first view, but is recyclable, lightweight, or have other positive impacts.
Thermal insulation for pipes can conserve water as well as energy
Cost justification for DHW piping insulation has been based on energy savings associated with reduced heat loss from piping systems. Often overlooked is the contribution of thermal insulation to conserving water. Water is routinely wasted as users wait for water at fixtures to become hot enough to use. A study to quantify the potential energy and water savings associated with typical hot water usage events will be explored at the Third International Emerging Technology Symposium by IAPMO and the World Plumbing Council. The symposium will be held May 1-2 in Bethesda, Md. Other topics to be covered:
· Research Paves Way for High-Performing Water-Saving Spray Valves
· Potential Health Risks from Reclaimed Water: What to Know and Avoid
· Measuring Sustainability – Credibility and Accountability
· Technologies for Industrial/Municipal Water Reuse
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NOTE:This information is the opinion of the author/blogger and not the official position of IAPMO.