"Green Plumbing Material" is coming-out to save costs. PEX, a cross-linked polyethylene, is one of those materials. PEX is a plastic that is made of individual molecules that have been linked together permanently making it durable and safe to use on water applications. PEX is proven to be a successful alternative to other types of materials like copper and CPVC. Here are the great benefits of the product:
Durability of PEX as "Green Plumbing Material"
o PEX doesn't experience corrosion, mineral build-up, abrasion, filming, pitting, and electrolysis, issues that are typically associated with metal piping.
o PEX is resistant to freeze damage, because it expands and contracts as water freezes and thaws inside the tubing, avoiding costly ruptures.
o PEX has the potential for fewer connections, reducing the chance of experiencing leaks, which typically occur at the connections within a plumbing system. With a properly installed home-run system, there are no connections hidden within the walls, so any leaks that may occur are easy to spot before they cause significant damage. Water conservation of PEX as "Green Plumbing Material"
o With a home-run system design, there are direct lines between the hot water manifold and individual fixtures. This reduces the amount of water that must be purged from a line before hot water will arrive at the fixture. Placing the manifold in a central location in the home can further reduce the length of lines.
o With a home-run system design, direct lines can be sized according to the requirements of each fixture. Manufacturers recommend the use of 3/8" tubing whenever possible, which is the smallest diameter available for PEX; a smaller diameter reduces the amount of time it takes for hot water to arrive at a fixture.
Energy efficiency of PEX as "Green Plumbing Material"
o PEX decreases the amount of energy used by the water heater, because hot water arrives at fixtures faster. This is particularly true of home-run system designs that have the hot water manifold in a central location.
o PEX has a higher R-value than other materials, which reduces the amount of heat lost from the water as it travels through the piping. Hot water stays hot, and cold water stays cold.
o PEX has fewer connections than other types of plumbing systems due to its flexible nature. This is particularly true of the home-run and remote manifold system designs. Connections add to the effective length of piping, increasing the time it takes for hot water to reach fixtures.
o PEX has mechanical fittings, rather than fittings that require the use of propane torches, helping to conserve energy on the jobsite.
Health and safety of PEX as "Green Plumbing Material"
o PEX is manufactured according to the strict standards of ASTM and CSA International. It's also regularly tested and certified by national certification agencies like NSF International and Underwriters Laboratories. PEX complies with the NSF/ANSI Standard 61 for drinking water health effects.
o PEX has mechanical fittings, which don't require solvents or chemicals that might leach into the water when the system is first used.
o PEX doesn't experience corrosion or mineral build-up, which can occur with other types of plumbing systems.
o PEX doesn't require flame, solder, or flux to install it, resulting in zero volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions. BuildIQ. [n.d.]. The Green Potential of PEX Plumbing Systems. Retrieved October 2009)