Plastic Pipe an Affordable and Green Choice for Housing
Decades ago, plastic pipe was a novelty, a unique product developed to help meet the demand for sewer and water lines in a burgeoning post-war housing market. Today, plastic pipe is a critical component that helps keep American homes and municipal water and sewer systems affordable and functional for decades to come.
“We’re miles beyond the novelty stage. In fact, if we were to characterize plastic piping systems today, we could say it in three simple words: plastic pipe protects,” said Richard Church, executive director of the Plastic Pipe and Fittings Association (PPFA), a trade group representing more than 70 North American plastic pipe, plastic fittings and raw material manufacturers.
“Plastic piping systems have a number of properties that protect consumers and the environment,” said Church. “As an example, our products protect the environment by minimizing the energy required to heat water for home use and by limiting the amount of greenhouse gases thrown into the environment by the manufacturing process, compared to metallic piping systems,” he explained.
Church said that plastic piping systems also help protect property by minimizing the amount of maintenance required and by giving home owners confidence in long-term performance. “In short, plastic pipe protects by lasting and lasting and lasting,” said Church. “Plastic systems also protect home owners by saving on installation costs and by providing water that is clean and devoid of the heavy metals.” he added.
Church said that plastic piping systems hold a great deal of promise for the future. “Plastic systems are sustainable and environmentally preferable. In short, they provide reliable delivery from the source to the destination without water loss or contamination of the environment.”
Today’s homes are serviced with water by easily trenched Polyethelyne, PVC or PEX (cross-linked polyethylene). Potable water is distributed throughout the home with either chlorinated polyvinyl chloride (CPVC) or PEX.
“All of these materials have made a significant impact on the affordability of housing, on the quality of water delivered to home owners and on the longevity of the homes’ plumbing systems, particularly in areas where the water aggressively attacks metallic piping systems,” said Church.
PVC and ABS pipe and fittings engineered for drain, waste and vent (DWV) systems are used in the vast majority of all single-family homes built today and are experiencing significant growth in commercial construction throughout North America.
“Where those products really make an impact is on the affordability of the single-family home,” said Church. “In addition, PVC and ABS sewer pipe provide superb long-term integrity and resistance to rust and corrosion. Plastic DWV piping is much easier to handle and install and can easily be modified when the home owner decides to remodel or enlarge the home.”
As the demand for protecting the environment continues to grow, builders will have to look no further than plastic pipe and fittings to economically meet all of their green building plumbing needs. Plastic pipe and fittings are not only environmentally superior in traditional plumbing applications, but they are the preferred materials to use in green applications such as geo-thermal heat pump systems, drip irrigation, reclaimed water systems and residential gray water systems.
Headquartered in Chicago, the Plastic Pipe and Fittings Association is a member of the National Council of the Housing Industry — The Supplier 100 of NAHB.
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