The Case for Eco Friendly Plumbing
If you own and operate a plumbing business, it’s time to get serious about going green in order to stay ahead of the trend and secure your business for the future. The younger generation has demonstrated an increasing interest in environmental sustainability, seeing that 87% of consumers prioritize sustainable businesses. Additionally, first time homeowners will be looking for green plumbers to do business with, so there is an opportunity to be one of the first to offer eco friendly plumbing services. Companies that adopt eco-friendly practices are collecting real benefits including new customers, cost savings and increased sales.
Sustainable Plumbing Challenges
How does the plumbing industry affect the environment?
Inefficient and wasteful plumbing practices can cause considerable environmental damage. The effects of said practices are costly:
- Poor materials can pollute their surrounding environment.
- Poor materials can prove to be dangerous to the health of those within the home.
- Poor materials are inefficient, wasting both water and energy.
- Certain materials are difficult to dispose of and cannot be reused.
Sustainable Plumbing Initiatives
Here’s a short overview of how you can be a more sustainable plumbing company:
- Reduce your office’s waste.
- Promote water saving appliances at home.
- Recycle old pipes and appliances.
- Use more eco friendly and durable materials.
- Market products that save energy.
Here’s more in depth information on each of these initiatives:
Reduce Your Office’s Waste
The easiest place to start when looking to green your company is to assess your office’s carbon footprint. Here are a few ideas of how you can start reducing your footprint:
- Consider installing faucet aerators on your sinks.
- Actively repair any leaks in order to save water.
- Invest in reusable silverware and dishes can reduce waste.
- Buy refillable cleaning products and soap dispensers.
- Install smart, energy efficient lighting.
Minimizing paper waste is also important when trying to green an office space. Encourage recycling within the office, and try to reduce printing. Perhaps even consider switching to digital billing and paperwork in order to reduce paper usage.
Lastly, preplanning the most efficient navigation routes between multiple external plumbing projects can minimize travel time and also decrease emissions. Since plumbing involves large amounts of driving, consider investing in high efficiency vehicles or even an electrical fleet in order to minimize fossil fuel emissions.
Promote Water Saving Appliances At Home
Although the plumbing industry itself doesn’t contribute much to environmental degradation, plumbing companies have the unique opportunity to encourage others to adopt green practices through marketing more sustainable products.
Inform your customers of current money saving, eco friendly plumbing technology. Here are just a few water saving options:
- Install low flush toilets or high efficiency toilets.
- Install faucet aerators or water saving faucets.
- Install high efficiency shower heads.
- Use recirculating hot water systems.
- Install pressure reducing valves on the main water line.
- Go the extra mile: install rainwater capture and filtration systems within the home.
Becoming an expert on the installation of green plumbing products can help you market to a whole new market of environmentally conscious home and business owners who are looking to go green. You would be not only advancing your business, but also lowering the carbon footprint of yourself and others.
If you don’t know where to start, WaterSense products are a great place to look for water efficient appliances. This seal labels products that use 20% less water than standard appliances while also saving energy.
Recycle Old Pipes and Appliances
Try to put everything you can to use, that way no materials are taking up unnecessary space in landfills. While it is oftentimes unhygienic to repurpose old pipes and appliances, you can still send these materials to recycling plants in order to reduce waste. Dedicate a separate trash bin to recyclable materials and send it away to a recycling facility once it fills.
Use More Eco Friendly and Durable Materials
Choosing the correct materials is a crucial part of plumbing and it is important to consider that some materials are more eco friendly than others.
Here’s a list of eco friendly materials:
- Cast iron piping
- Recycled steel
- Recycled plastic piping such as HDPE
These materials can be considered ‘greener’ than others because of their nature. Cast iron piping, copper and recycled steel are oftentimes great options since they are made up of recycled materials and can easily be melted down and repurposed. Also, some plastic pipings tend to be recycled as well, and they are more durable than metal in most cases, oftentimes making them a more environmentally friendly option. For example, high-density polyethylene (HDPE) is a plastic made up of recycled materials that can remain in use for about 100 years, making it a durable product that requires less waste and maintenance.
It’s also pertinent to think about where you’re sourcing these materials from. When attempting to be a sustainable plumbing company, you should try to buy materials and appliances from sustainable companies as well. Here, it’s important to beware of greenwashing and to specifically look for green certifications on a given manufacturer’s website. Any company can say they’re green, but you should check to make sure they’re truly working sustainably! The interactive Green Business Bureau seal is always a great indicator of how green a company is, given that you can simply click on the seal and walk through all the green initiatives said company is working on.
Market Products That Save Energy
Similarly to how you could inform home and business owners on how water saving appliances can save both the planet and your wallet, you could also inform customers on the benefits of energy saving products within the home. For example, water heaters amount to about 18% of the average home’s energy use. Tankless or solar powered heaters are much more energy efficient and are great to install when looking to green your home.
Overall, try to inform customers of energy saving plumbing practices:
- Install tankless or solar powered water heaters.
- Reduce how hot the water heater runs.
- Insulate any pipes you install.
If you don’t know where to look for energy efficient appliances, Energy Star certified products are a great place to start. The Energy Star mark is a trusted label for efficient products, indicating that the given product is more energy efficient than 75% of similar products nationwide.
Eco-Friendly Plumbing Overview
Plumbing businesses should start to think more sustainably within the field. The long term benefits of adopting these practices are simply too great to ignore.
- Green practices save money in the long run.
- Green businesses attract new customers.
- Sustainable companies attract new employees with a passion for sustainability.
- You can reduce your own carbon footprint.
- You can expand your brand, now stating that you’re eco friendly!
All in all, the long term benefits of going green greatly outweigh the initial costs. Adopting sustainable practices will grow your business and ensure your company is prepared to change with the adapting tastes and preferences of new homeowners. Thinking sustainably will ensure that you stay relevant in the business world while also taking social responsibility over your own carbon footprint!
About the Author
GBB Green Ambassador
Lauren Salerno is a management major at the University of Connecticut who is passionate about inspiring others to think sustainably within the business world. Once she graduates, she hopes to pair her knowledge of business with her passion for environmental conservation through seeking a fulfilling career within a sustainable company. In her free time, Lauren enjoys guided meditation classes, acrylic painting and walking with her dogs, Gizmo and Poppy.