Codes are Changing to Promote Sustainable Water Strategies

By Lindy Gibbons, Plumbing & Fire Protection Department Head

Plumbing has historically been placed at the bottom of the MEP totem pole. Our systems are traditionally much smaller in footprint and general impact than electrical or mechanical.  However, with water conservation becoming such an integral aspect of new buildings, especially in the Bay Area, piping systems are becoming more important to a building’s sustainable and strategic goals. On top of that, several pieces of legislation have been passed recently that also impact plumbing system design.

Some of the recent legislation:

  • State Bill 7 – mandating residential water submetering
  • Title 24 energy performance – residential performance energy model includes 20% solar savings fraction that must be addressed through design
  • Better Roofs Ordinance – PV/solar thermal installation, applicable for low-rise buildings
  • Article 12C – Nonpotable Water Ordinance, mandating on-site water treatment for certain projects
  • SFDPH updated requirements for water treatment – August 2017 updates to treatment requirements

All of the above have design, space and cost implications to projects that are important to establish early. The plumbing team aspires to work with the architect and owner to navigate various regulations that overlap and determine a path forward that is compliant and makes sense for the building. If you have questions about your project, feel free to reach out!