A full range of speakers at the Plumbing Manufacturers Institute’s Fall Meeting (held Oct. 8-11 in Washington, D.C.) addressed the important issue of water conservation.

Shawn Martin, Applied Technology Division, NAHB Research Center, said that many plumbing systems are installed without the benefit of much advanced planning or design, especially in residential. Martin said water availability will remain an issue for some time to come. Population growth is expected to be concentrated in areas that have the least amount of water.

Drury B. Crawley of the U.S. Dept. of Energy manages the DOE’s building energy software tools research and development activities and also chairs the ASHRAE committee on sustainability and water stability. Crawley says that ASHRAE expects to release the second version of its Green Guide by the end of the year.

David Sheridan, P.E., principal in Aqua Cura, claimed that two trends will influence green building and have a pronounced effect on the water efficiency issue: climate change and petroleum depletion. He said that potable water will become more expensive and less reliable and, where possible, houses will be equipped with a compost unit under one of the bathrooms.

Dr. Steve Cummings, manager, research and design, Caroma Industries Ltd., Australia, discussed an approved mandatory water-efficiency labeling program in his home country. Cummings said that household water use there has been reduced by 22% since the 1990s.

The labeling and standards program becomes effective in January 2007. It will cut household water usage by an estimated 5% by 2021.