Eliminating resource waste

Eliminating resource waste

Presented against the backdrop of a national election that will no doubt shape the future of the construction industry and its products, the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO) and the World Plumbing Council (WPC) recently convened the third Emerging Technology Symposium.

In welcoming attendees to the May 1-2 event, IAPMO CEO/WPC Chairman GP Russ Chaney said water and energy efficiency continue to be increasingly prominent issues, referencing extreme drought conditions in parts of Texas last year that forced businesses to close due to a lack of water resources.

Despite one¹s political leanings or thoughts on what exactly is causing the events, there should be widespread agreement that action must be taken to eliminate the waste of our resources in light of such occurrences, he said.

³The people in this room ¬ the presenters, the panelists, and the attendees alike ¬ are among the leaders that the world will depend upon to ensure that we make the best possible use of our energy and water resources,² Chaney said. ³By applying what we will hear over the course of the next two days, we can help minimize the impact of future water scarcity events and the potential risks to health, safety and commerce that can result as a result as a lack of access to water and energy.²

Over the next two days, a host of innovators and industry heavyweights gathered at the Bethesda North Marriott Hotel & Conference Center in Bethesda, Md., to highlight the challenges facing the manufacturing, engineering and trade industries as they pertain to water and energy conservation, sanitation, renewables and the sustainability of the environment and suggest creative solutions in addressing them.

Keynote speaker Kerri-Ann Jones, assistant secretary for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs for the U.S. State Department, called water security ³one of the great challenges of our time.²

Jones said nearly 800 million people lack access to a drinking water source such as a well or a community tap that is protected from animals and debris, and said it is likely that two to three times that number lack access to water that is considered safe to drink. Additionally, she said, more than 2.5 billion people lack access to basic sanitation.

³Taken together, the lack of access to safe drinking water, basic sanitation and poor hygiene practices pose one of our greatest health risks worldwide,² she said. ³Each day, nearly 6,000 people ¬ mostly children under the age of five ¬ die from preventable diarrheal diseases.²

Beyond its connection to health, water is also a critical element in our food and energy security, the environment, and in looking how we will be affected by climate change, Jones said. More than 70 percent of the water used around the world goes toward agriculture, she said, and in some developing countries that number can be as high as 90 to 95 percent.

The demand will increase as populations continue to grow and countries develop, Jones said, because of both the increased grain production that will be needed and due to dietary changes ¬ as people¹s diets become more meat based,
more water input will be required.

By 2025, she said, experts predict that two-thirds of the world will live in water-stressed conditions. The situation sounds dire, Jones acknowledged, but said there are solutions that everybody can work on together. Most places now have enough water to meet people¹s needs, she said, and proper management measures must be in place to ensure clean safe, water reaches the people who need it.

³We have seen many countries doing more with less, including the United States,² Jones said.

A wide range of plumbing- and mechanical-related presentations from industry experts, local, state and federal government officials, consultants and standards officials include topics such as pipe and fitting advances, so-called ³tipping points,² reclaimed water, rainwater harvesting and thermal insulation.

Kyle Onda, a graduate assistant at the Water Institute of UNC Chapel Hill, also offered an update on ³The Last Mile of Safe Water Delivery: A Global Problem.² The project is a joint effort between IAPMO and the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health.

To view any of the presentations visit IAPMO¹s YouTube page at http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLFAFD747F2EAB2698&feature=mh_lolz
<http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLFAFD747F2EAB2698&feature=mh_lolz> .
Additionally, copies of the speakers¹ PowerPoint presentations may be downloaded at http://www.iapmo.org/Pages/EmergingTechnologySymposium.aspx.

The event was held in response to the overwhelming popularity of previous symposiums in Chicago (2008) and Ontario, Calif. (2010). Videos from the previous two symposiums are available for viewing online at http://www.youtube.com/user/IAPMOGroup. In addition to the symposiums, IAPMO and the WPC have previously worked together to bring industry wide attention to the SARS epidemic and the measures necessary to mitigate its threat around the world.

Planning is under way for a fourth ETS, and details will be released as soon as they are finalized.

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