Green Building

Today, everyone seems to be talking “green.” When it comes to water-efficiency and water conservation, this term represents an extremely important trend affecting design professionals, building owners and managers, manufacturers, end-users, water utilities, government and certainly the water-efficiency practitioner.

Opinions and definitions vary from individual to individual on the meaning of the term “green.” Here is the State of California’s definition: "Green Building - A holistic approach to design, construction, and demolition that minimizes the building’s impact on the environment, the occupants, and the community." (California Building Standards Commission

Detailed specifications have been developed by the US Green Building Council and the Green Building Initiative.  Green “stretch” codes have been developed by the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials and the International Code Council. 

There is a difference between green building standards and green building guidelines. While guidelines provide thresholds for efficiency, they are not generally written in code-adoptable language, and compliance is usually voluntary. Standards, on the other hand, provide definitive efficiency thresholds, are written in language that is enforceable, and are readily adopted by reference into codes and other regulations.

Various “green” standards and guidelines exist for plumbing fixtures and appliances beyond the US National Standards. These standards and guidelines may be part of voluntary programs such as WaterSense® Single-Family New Homes and USGBC LEED for Homes, or codes such as...

The US Green Building Council (USGBC) has been a leader in the green building movement. Their LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) program is the most prominent and well-known of the green building programs.