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The Ins and Outs of Green Plumbing: An Interview with Don Hilderbrand of PlumbSmart Technologies

By Don Hilderbrand

Tell us a little bit about your company and its foundation.

PlumbSmart Technologies, LLC. was founded in 2008 with a single man and a truck. We have quickly become the recognized leader in plumbing and service operations in WNC. Our operation has grown from covering just the Asheville and Buncombe county area to now covering all of WNC from Old Fort to Murphy and those parts in between. We offer a full compliment of plumbing services and specialize in high efficiency water heaters and general plumbing fixtures as well. We are the founding members of GreenPlumbersUSA - which is an educational entity for helping to establish the new Green Plumbing building code. This "Green code" has been adopted by the International Plumbing Code and the Universal Plumbing code as the standard and authority for adhering to "Green" standards.

What are some of the services your company provides?

PlumbSmart Technologies, LLC provides full service plumbing, but we specialize in the water heater and remodel field where we work with local contractors to provide the highest level of service possible to our clients. We also specialize in factory level support for all major water heater brands.

Please explain green plumbing to our readers.

Green Plumbing is the practice of installing high efficiency fixtures into homes and buildings as well as utilizing the most efficient and "green" products available today. High efficiency is not the dreaded "low flow" as it was in the 70's. Today's items that are referred to as "HE", are truly engineered and designed to perform better than their overly consuming cousins which reduces the end users out of pocket expenses. Green plumbing also refers to the education of consumers to make informed decisions of their purchases and services which they need. Just because something is more efficient does not mean that it is "Green". Green means that everything from the manufacturing to the customers overall out of pocket expense is less. Research and development of these items takes more but the trade off is less stress on our existing infrastructure. A good example: if you continue to grow a community by building and you do not relieve the stress of the utilities that they serve, then that means you have to build more infrastructure to accommodate those new buildings and homes. By going "Green", there is less stress on the existing infrastructure. Therefore, the more people the same utility network can handle without having to add to their own system, means less infrastructure, more housing and building, less disruption of existing infrastructure and more resources devoted to reducing current loads and increasing performance. Overall result: less taxpayer dollars spent and more infrastructure to handle the demand.

What are examples of green plumbing products?

Some examples of "Green plumbing products" can be found on shelves every day. From HET (High Efficiency Toilets) using 1.28 gallons per flush tankless water heaters, to Ultra high efficient tank style heaters. The old ones are typically about 70% efficient and the new UHF (Ultra High Efficiency) models can achieve rates as high as 98%. Some more examples are shower heads using 1.25 gpm, recycled drain pipes which have an inner core made directly from recycled material. Also, copper pipes have been used for more than 50 years in plumbing are the most recycled product in the world. And, in fact more than 90% of all copper pipes in the world that are recycled are turned right back into copper pipe.

How much energy can a household save by switching to these products?

A typical household can save as much as 15% on their overall water, sewer, electrical and gas services combined by switching to these types of products. And depending on how it is designed it can be significantly more.

What is the best way for people to reach you and or your company?

Our clients can contact us by either our website:, by phone 828-974-6147, Facebook and twitter, plumbsmart08.

So, please visit us today or schedule an appointment and see how simply changing some fixtures in your home can save you big without having to change your lifestyle.

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