Magazine article Corrections Forum

Michigan DOC Responds to Governor's Conservation Directive

Magazine article Corrections Forum

Michigan DOC Responds to Governor's Conservation Directive

Article excerpt

Jerry Elmblad is becoming a green guru.

Responding to the Governor's Directive 2005-4 that calls for Michigan state buildings to reduce water and energy consumption by 10 percent by 2008 and 20 percent by 2015, Elmblad is implementing sustainable technology at prisons managed by the Michigan Department of Corrections.

"That is one of my main jobs," Elmblad, a building construction specialist, said of identifying costeffective green design alternatives. "Electrical savings, natural gas, heat, energy, water-we will look into anything and everything to save tax dollars for the state of Michigan."

Elmblad said that he regularly attends seminars and looks for new products that will help save our natural resources while meeting all plumbing code requirements. "We are very rigid with plumbing codes and we make sure that we adhere to what the ASSE standards require us to do."

One of the challenges Elmblad faces is the range of ages of Michigan's correctional facilities. "As for retrofitting, the state of Michigan has just under 50 prisons of various ages and styles, so we pretty much have everything out there in terms of different types of plumbing and fixtures," says the construction specialist. "What we're doing is focusing on the areas that will give us the biggest returns first: urinals that eliminate all water consumption, timed shower units and electronic water control systems. We try to incorporate everything we can, but our designs and security levels really dictate what we are able to accomplish."

Elmblad notes that the Department of Corrections designates the security level of its prisons on a 1-5 scale, with one being the most lenient, comparatively.

"In a Level 1 facility, these are for the trustee-type prisoner," Elmblad explains of the lowest level security facilities managed by the Department of Corrections. "The inmates are usually housed dormitory style. We are focusing on installing Waterfree Urinals because you have many inmates using one urinal. Other products we incorporate include flow restrictors, infrared detectors for sinks and showers, timed showers, but it really depends on the level of prison as to what we can put into them."

For lower-level security facilities, a group of four or eight men per cube in a wing with about 80 inmates share one bathroom with four urinals. Based on the state's estimate, each prisoner uses the urinal roughly seven times per day, making Waterfree Urinals an excellent alternative to waterbased flushing systems. …

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