# 2006 Washington DC
International developments, increased demand and environmental concerns have led to the increasing need for energy efficiency and conservation. The energy crisis relates directly to the more effective use of natural resources and reduction in the emission of greenhouse gases. This paper discusses actions the plastics pipe industry can take to deal effectively with these issues, i.e. the manufacture of material and energy efficient pressure pipes such as modified PVC (PVC-M), biaxial oriented PVC (PVC-O) and HDPE PE 100. The essential properties of these materials are examined in relation to the long-term ‘safety factor’ and the operating life of pipelines. The newer generation structured wall pipes for sewer and drainage are compared to both plastic and traditional products. In the mines of South Africa plastic pipes provide chilled water for a safe working environment providing significant energy savings over steel equivalents. The life cycle energy requirements for pipelines, which include the energy used in their manufacture and during operation, are described. The subjects covered are intended to provide a holistic life cycle picture to assist the water industry in deciding on the most cost effective and energy efficient pipeline materials.