Ensuring that its lineup of products across the total restroom is up to date and meets the quality required for certification is no small task. That’s where Daniel Gleiberman, Sloan Manager of Product Compliance and Government Affairs, steps in. After working with Falcon Waterfree Technologies, Gleiberman has spent nearly the last decade with Sloan.
What got you started down the path of compliance and water conservation?
My original foray into plumbing was to really change people’s awareness of the amount of water used in commercial restrooms. I also wanted to embark on the process of getting standards adopted that address new technologies. Changing or modifying plumbing codes so that it’s easier for certain elements to be accepted is good for everyone in the long run if you can prove that they’re hygienic, safe and sanitary without the use of water. With plumbing being a regulated industry, it’s crucial for today’s groundbreaking products and technologies to still fall inside the normal bounds of those plumbing codes. My passion was, and still is, to be an expert on how the plumbing codes operate and if there’s a more water-efficient and hygienic way to dispose of liquid waste.
How do you go about getting plumbing codes updated or altered?
Plumbing codes are developed as model codes by the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO) and the International Code Council (ICC), both of which establish safe practices for the use of products and installation. The way that building codes have been structured in this country – and plumbing codes as a subset – is that they encourage jurisdictions to adopt their respective codes. Yet, local amendments can also be implemented that would modify the model code.
With Sloan developing products that cover the full range of the commercial restroom, we are very interested in how the current code impacts our products and the industry at large, and we want to make appropriate suggestions or comments for changes that would benefit the industry. I’m on the committees that change the code, sometimes as a voting member and sometimes as a nonvoting participant. More importantly, I track all of the code changes through each cycle, so I look at everything that’s being proposed. Sloan strives to either get codes changed or to develop products that are efficient and push the envelope, while also falling within the realm of certification.
Is there a fine line between meeting plumbing code requirements while also moving the needle on innovation?
There is an industry standard approved by the American National Society of Industry Standards (ANSI). While the standard states the maximum amount of water required for a single use is 1.6 gallons per flush (gpf), it does not state how little water you need to use. If you were to meet all the requirements of the standard at one gallon or even half a gallon, you would conceivably get certified to standards at that lower flush volume.
Yet, that standard is a minimum standard. At Sloan, we conduct additional testing and set rigorous standards during the product development phase to ensure that we’re not just meeting the standard, but exceeding it. We have our own unique set of criteria that we look into, as well.
How was your experience as a speaker at the recent Los Angeles Grand Challenge Water Symposium?
I was honored that the UCLA School of Sustainability invited me to speak, but it was also impactful to be the only manufacturer to take the podium. My presentation discussed how Los Angeles can go to zero imported water for all of its needs. Unlike the last 200 years of development in the city of Los Angeles and its regions where we’ve taken water from the north and from the Colorado River, is it possible for the city to just look at what falls in our region to recapture and reuse it to meet all of our water needs?
I discussed how recent innovations in the commercial restroom, like waterfree urinals and sensor faucets, are promoting reduced flow, with Sloan’s reclaimed flushometer being the most pertinent innovation to the discussion. Sloan came out with research on a reclaimed flushometer valve before anyone in the industry was even paying attention. We believe that – especially in water-starved or water-stressed areas – this idea of using the same quality of water to bathe, brush your teeth, cook your food and flush your toilet with is ridiculous. There should be gradations of water quality, just like there are gradations of almost every other type of consumptive uses, and that’s where Sloan’s reclaimed valve comes in.
Where do you see the future of compliance and water conservation heading?
At Sloan, we’re striving to make sure that we understand recycled water components. Even if they haven’t taken off as quickly as some would predict, we believe that they’re coming and they’re going to grow, depending on more legislation, regulations or water stress in certain parts of this country.
In terms of overall water efficiency, Sloan is uniquely aware of the idea that at some point, information is as important as consumption. In other words, the ability of our devices to communicate with each other and for us to know more than we already do about usage patterns.
This is coinciding with the fact that the cost of the delivery of water continues to increase. With water being recognized as the most vital resource, costs around the entire country are now starting to be more reflective to the end user of what the actual costs are. With that in mind, measurement and verification of water usage is going to become critical so that people know what they’re using and can make more informed decisions about either their usage patterns and the products that they’re choosing.
This is the sixth edition in a series of Q&A segments with Sloan subject matter experts for their take on where the commercial restroom has been, what it’s evolved to now and where it’s going. A previous edition on the evolution of the Internet of Things (IoT) in the commercial restroom can be found here.
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