PMI advocates for WaterSense use on Hill

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Rolling Meadows, Ill. – A Plumbing Manufacturers International (PMI) delegation of member CEOs and other executives underscored the importance of using WaterSense products to save water, especially in regions impacted by drought, during mid-September meetings on Capitol Hill.

Citing a GMP Research study commissioned by PMI that shows slow adoption of WaterSense toilets, showerheads and lavatory (bathroom) faucets in drought-stricken states, the PMI delegation visited 17 Congressional offices to encourage heightened visibility for the WaterSense program. The delegation introduced a new “Safe, Responsible Plumbing. Always” video, which features TV and radio personality Bill Kurtis telling how PMI members’ products save water while meeting high safety and performance standards.

A voluntary, public-private partnership, the WaterSense program was established in 2006 within the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to encourage the use of high performing, water-efficient plumbing products. Plumbing products with the WaterSense label have been verified by an independent, third-party certification laboratory to be at least 20 percent more water efficient than other plumbing products meeting federal standards, without sacrificing performance.

WaterSense authorization amendment approved by House Energy and Commerce Committee
PMI efforts both prior and during the Hill visits led to the Sept. 30 approval by the House Energy and Commerce Committee of a bipartisan WaterSense authorization amendment within H.R. 8 – the North American Energy Security and Infrastructure Act. Achieving authorization will help ensure the voluntary program’s continuance. PMI worked closely with the sponsors of the amendment, Representatives Bob Latta (R-Ohio) and Jerry McNerney (D-California), to advocate support.

Some members of the PMI delegation met with Congressional representatives corresponding to the location of their facilities. The delegation included:
·         Graham Allen, president and CEO, Sloan Valve Co.
·         Daimon Bridge, vice president of enterprise solutions, CMD Group
·         Hugh Ekberg, president, Kitchen and Bath Americas, Kohler Co.
·         Fernando Fernandez, director of codes and standards, TOTO USA, and PMI board president
·         Tim Ferry, president, InSinkErator
·         Ray Fisher, president and owner, Fisher Manufacturing Company
·         Christian Geisthoff, vice president, market innovation, Viega LLC
·         Barbara C. Higgens, CEO and executive director, PMI
·         Chris Ochoa, vice president, government relations, International Code Council (ICC)
·         Stephanie Salmon, PMI government relations
·         Dominic Sims, CEO, ICC
·         Mike Sipek, CEO, Bradley Corp.
·         Todd Talbot, president, Fluidmaster
·         Ray Valek, PMI communications

The market penetration study found that, on average, 6.7 percent of the toilets installed nationwide are WaterSense toilets using 1.28 gallons per flush – the WaterSense standard for toilets evaluated to be 20 percent more water-efficient than other plumbing products meeting federal standards. In addition, 25.4 percent of bathroom faucets nationwide meet the WaterSense standard of 1.5 gallons per minute (gpm), and 28.7 percent of showerheads meet the WaterSense standard of 2.0 gpm. In California, which has been impacted by serious drought, only 5.5 percent of California’s 33.5 million installed residential and commercial toilets are WaterSense toilets, 21.1 percent of bathroom faucets meet WaterSense criteria, and 23.9 percent of showerheads meet WaterSense standards.

In addition to making the Hill visits, the members also met with staff from the WaterSense program, the U.S. Department of Commerce, and the National Apartment Association. Guest speakers included the National Association of Manufacturers’ Ned Monroe, senior vice president of external relations, and Chad Moutray, chief economist; Jim Conzelman, president and CEO, Ripon Society; Jim Ellis, president, Ellis Insight LLC; Radhika Fox, president, U.S. Water Alliance; and Mary Neumayr, senior energy counsel, Majority Staff House Committee on Energy and Commerce.

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