LEED Platinum & GreenStar Gold Home Gets an Assist From WERS

There are net-zero energy homes, and then there are homes that go even further. The following project made sure it went a step beyond.

LEED Platinum & GreenStar Gold Home in MN (Photo courtesy of Corey Gaffer)
LEED Platinum & GreenStar Gold Home in MN (Photo courtesy of Corey Gaffer)

The homeowners wanted to build a home in the Minneapolis area that produced as much energy as both the house and their cars used over the span of a year. They hired Marc Sloot of SALA Architects and Kerry Hage of Hage Homes to lead the design and construction Design team. For best value and to ensure production from the solar panels could at least match consumption, they sought ways to reduce consumption as much as possible first. Thick insulation, passive solar tempering with triple pane windows, geothermal heat pumps, a high efficiency fresh air exchanger and ENERGY STAR-rated lights and appliances were all employed in the process.

This house was about more than just energy, though. The homeowners also gave preference to companies/manufacturers that used recycled content in their products, used renewable energy for their manufacturing and/or transportation and produced products without using toxic or harmful components such as volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

LEED Platinum & GreenStar Gold Home in MN (Photo courtesy of Corey Gaffer)
LEED Platinum & GreenStar Gold Home in MN (Photo courtesy of Corey Gaffer)

They also took a sustainable approach to their water usage. Interestingly, their motivation was not due to supply concerns. Instead, they wanted to reduce their total energy footprint, which included the energy devoted to water. Indoors, this meant utilizing low-flow fixtures in the showers and bathroom sinks. On the exterior, drought-tolerant turfgrass, in addition to xeriscape techniques, will greatly minimize the outdoor water demands. This property also contains 4 rain gardens that will be fed by either onsite rainfall or stormwater runoff from the street channeled onto the property via curb cuts. Finally, the project has four, fifty-gallon rain barrels. 200 gallons might not seem like a lot of capacity, but the landscaping is designed to require no more than average rainfall, and Minneapolis receives approximately 2.5 feet of rain per year.

LEED Platinum & GreenStar Gold Home in MN (Photo courtesy of Corey Gaffer)
LEED Platinum & GreenStar Gold Home in MN (Photo courtesy of Corey Gaffer)

“One of the reasons this project has scored Platinum in LEED v4 is the dedication to water reduction. While LEED for Homes pulls from the EPA WaterSense tool for outdoors and uses the LEED water performance spreadsheet for indoors, there is no uniform, agreed-upon tool to track or predict stormwater, rain water, black water or greywater use,” commented Brett Little, Executive Director for the Green Home Institute. “We were excited to use the WERS tool as a way to measure more accurately the rain barrel catchment for this project, which could be used to populate the rain/grey water section in the LEED Water Performance Pathway. Moreover, the WERS could theoretically be used to meet all of the water performance items asked for in LEED through 1 tool, rather than relying on 2 or 3 different tools which always allows for more error. We recommend contacting the USGBC to voice your opinion if you want to see WERS adopted as a substitute.”

“The great thing about building a comprehensive tool like WERS is that people can use it for a variety of purposes,” said Mike Collignon, Chair of the WERS Development Group. “We believe this precedent shows WERS can lend assistance to LEED projects and, hopefully, will open the door to its expanded usage within the LEED process.”

You can see this fascinating project by registering for the Green Home Institute’s Facebook Live tour, which is going on now. The coverage for this project is scheduled to air on Monday, July 24, 2017 at 12:00pm CT.

WERS Program in the News

The Next Generation Water Summit garnered a lot of media coverage in New Mexico. Here is a rundown of the radio interviews, as well as a recap of the event from the Green Fire Times:

KVSF The Voice 101.5 FM – May 25, 2017 – Richard Eeds interviews Mike Collignon, Executive Director of the Green Builder® Coalition and Co-Chair of the Next Generation Water Summit: https://santafe.com/thevoice/podcasts/mike-collignon-green-builder-coalition-next-generation-water-summit

KSFR News 101.1 FM – June 2, 2017 – Katherine Mast interviews Collignon: http://traffic.libsyn.com/ksfrnews/km-watersummit.mp3

KSFR News 101.1 FM – June 14, 2017 – Katherine Mast interviews Collignon: http://traffic.libsyn.com/ksfrnews/km-postwatersummit.mp3

“Report on the First Annual Next Generation Water Summit” by Nancy Grace of the Green Fire Times. July 6, 2017. http://greenfiretimes.com/2017/07/report-on-the-first-annual-next-generation-water-summit/

Save the Date: 2018 Next Generation Water Summit

Make plans now to attend the 2018 Next Generation Water Summit. It will return to the Santa Fe Convention Center in Santa Fe, NM on April 29, 30 and May 1, 2018. Sunday, April 29th will once again be free and open to the general public. The professional sessions will be held on Monday, April 30th and Tuesday, May 1st.

“We have been overwhelmed by the positive response from those who attended the 2017 Next Generation Water Summit,” exclaimed Summit Co-Chair and Santa Fe Green Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Glenn Schiffbauer. “Here in Santa Fe, it’s really been ebullient. Equally impressive has been the interest from those that have heard about the Summit and want to know about next year. We’re looking forward to making 2018’s Next Generation Water Summit even better.”

Sponsorships and exhibit booths will be available once again. More details to come, so stay tuned to this space!

2017 Next Generation Water Summit Recap

Katherine Mortimer and Kim Shanahan present a panel session on Sunday, June 4, 2017
Katherine Mortimer and Kim Shanahan present a panel session on Sunday, June 4, 2017

For a first-time event, the inaugural Next Generation Water Summit was considered by many to be a huge success. A total of 138 people registered for the event, which took place over the course of 3 days in early June at the Santa Fe Convention Center in Santa Fe, NM.

 

Ed Mazria pulls no punches as he delivers the Monday keynote address
Ed Mazria pulls no punches as he delivers the Monday keynote address

Attendees could choose from 39 sessions, many of which were grouped into one of three tracks: Builders, Developers & Architects; Water Professionals; and Policy. Topics ranged from rainwater, greywater, blackwater, stormwater, water rights, irrigation, water efficiency, building codes, land use and leak detection. The first day of the event was a Sunday, and was free for anyone to attend. 12 sessions were offered, in addition to the myriad of exhibitor booths one could visit in the Green Expo, hosted by the Santa Fe Green Chamber of Commerce. On Monday, Ed Mazria delivered a rousing keynote that had attendee Michelle Maddaus saying, “That was the best keynote I have ever seen, and I have seen a ton of keynotes over the years! Everyone kept talking about it, too.” Not to be outdone, Mary Ann Dickinson gave an excellent keynote on Tuesday morning, getting everyone focused on solutions for the challenges ahead.

Justin Lyon shares his knowledge on commercial water budgeting on Monday, June 5, 2017
Justin Lyon shares his knowledge on commercial water budgeting on Monday, June 5, 2017

The attendees represented 8 states plus the District of Columbia, and all 4 mainland United States time zones. “We’ve set a good foundation for next year’s Summit,” said Mike Collignon, Co-Chair of the Next Generation Water Summit. “While we’ll look to increase attendance, we’re proud of our first-year numbers. Many attendees enjoyed the intimate nature of the Summit, pointing out that it helped foster in-depth conversations.”

Christine Chavez, Neal Shapiro and Regina Hirsch head up a panel session on Monday, June 5, 2017.
Christine Chavez, Neal Shapiro and Regina Hirsch head up a panel session on Monday, June 5, 2017.

Hosts of the event were the Santa Fe Green Chamber of Commerce (lead host), Green Builder® Coalition, City of Santa Fe, and the Santa Fe Area Home Builders Association. Santa Fe Community College was the official education sponsor, and Green Builder® Media was the national media partner.

Sandra Ely spoke about the Aamodt Settlement on Sunday, June 4, 2017
Sandra Ely spoke about the Aamodt Settlement on Sunday, June 4, 2017

Vulcan, Inc. was a Sustaining Sponsor; Uponor, Evolve Technologies and Aquamate were the Educational Track Sponsors; Horizons Sustainable Financial Services was the Mayor’s Reception sponsor; Niagara Conservation was the Keynote Sponsor; Santa Fe County was the Networking Tables Sponsor and Environmental Services was the Bag Sponsor.

Next Generation Water Summit Schedule Released

The session schedule for the Next Generation Water Summit is now available, and it covers a broad range of subjects. Attendees can choose from three educational tracks: Builders, Developers & Architects; Water Professionals; and Policy. Topics will include rainwater, greywater, blackwater, stormwater, water rights, irrigation, water efficiency, building codes, land use and leak detection. The presenters herald from 6 states, and CEUs are available for all sessions. In addition, Ed Mazria will deliver the keynote on Monday morning, with Mary Ann Dickinson starting the discussion of solutions on Tuesday morning.

To view the entire schedule, please click here. To learn more about the presenters, please visit the presenter page. Finally, if you’re looking for even more learning opportunities, Santa Fe Community College will be hosting 3 Pre-Summit courses.

The Next Generation Water Summit will take place June 4-6, 2017 at the Santa Fe Convention Center in Santa Fe, NM. Attendees can register today to attend the Summit for just $299. This will allow admittance to both keynote speakers, any educational session, and breakfast & lunch on Monday and Tuesday. Just as important, attendees will be able to network with a broad spectrum of stakeholders while working towards solutions for their respective challenges.

Hosts of the event are the Santa Fe Green Chamber of Commerce (lead host), Green Builder® Coalition, City of Santa Fe, and the Santa Fe Area Home Builders Association. Santa Fe Community College is the official education sponsor, and Green Builder® Media is the national media partner. Vulcan, Inc. is a Sustaining Sponsor.

WERS Program Featured on Green Gab Podcast

Mike Collignon, Executive Director of the Green Builder® Coalition and Chair of the WERS Development Group, sat down with Marla and Tony, co-hosts of the Green Gab podcast, a few months ago to discuss water efficiency. While they covered topics like drought, desalination and shrinking aquifers, they also discussed solutions like rainwater harvesting, ultra-high efficiency toilets and the importance of measurement with programs like WERS.

To listen to the recently released 42-minute podcast, please click here and enjoy it during your commute or workout.

Professional Designations Available Ahead of Next Generation Water Summit

The Next Generation Water Summit will provide attendees with 3 days of education, solutions, networking and brainstorming. But the Summit isn’t the only place you can obtain information that could propel your career forward. Santa Fe Community College will be hosting 3 Pre-Summit courses.

QWEL Professional Certification

QWEL logoThe Qualified Water Efficient Landscaper (QWEL) professional certification provides landscape professionals with 20 hours of education on principles of proper plant selection for the local climate, irrigation system design and maintenance, and irrigation system programming and operation. In order to obtain the QWEL certification an individual must demonstrate their ability to perform an irrigation system audit as well as pass the QWEL exam.

Instructor: Xubi Wilson
Dates: May 31 – June 2
Time: 9am – 5pm
Room: Classroom 813
Cost: Student and non-student rates available
Registration:
SFCC students – Log in to the SFCC website and enroll in course ENVR 217.
Non-students – Go to this SFCC page and create a Login ID and PIN. Search for course ENVR 217 and enroll.

WERS® Verifier

WERS logoThis three day, in-person course prepares the student to take the WERS® certification written and practical exams. The course covers many aspects of water efficiency in housing. However, it is expected that the student have prior knowledge about landscaping & irrigation, basics of house construction & plumbing systems, building codes, and alternative water sources which will not be covered in this class but may be in the exam material. Tuition includes exam fees.

Instructor: Laureen Blissard
Dates: May 31 – June 2
Time: 9am – 5pm
Room: Lab 822
Cost: $595
Registration: Please email Amanda Hatherly at SFCC to register.

ARCSA Rainwater Harvesting AP Workshop

ARCSA logoThis two day AP-level workshop is an in-depth rainwater harvesting course required for those seeking ARCSA Accredited Professional (AP) status. This course provides attendees with knowledge for rainwater harvesting, both active and passive, design for both outdoor and in-home rainwater use, sanitation for potable uses, rules and regulations, guidelines, business management, project planning, site planning and installation, safety, system construction and maintenance. The course tuition includes a Rain Harvesting Planning Manual, which has been expanded to include all of North America.

Instructor: Steven Sweeney
Dates: June 1 – 2
Time: 9am – 5pm
Room: Classroom 805
Cost: $395 for ARCSA members; $520 for non-members
Registration: Click here to register

Ed Mazria to Headline Next Generation Water Summit

Internationally recognized architect, author, researcher, and educator Ed Mazria of Architecture 2030 will provide the keynote address to kick off Monday, June 5th at the Next Generation Water Summit. Founder of Architecture 2030, a think tank developing real-world solutions for 21st century problems, Mazria will demonstrate how water and energy are intertwined, how their footprint affects growth, and how attention to these relationships in the design process can help correct our current environmental trajectory.

Ed Mazria
Portrait of Ed Mazria, founder of Architecture2030, at his offices in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Mazria said, “How we design water systems in buildings, cities, and regions is critical to mitigating the effects of continued development and climate change, and integral to phasing carbon out of urban built environments by mid-century.”

“Ed Mazria has literally changed the course of architecture, building and development for the planet when it comes to maximizing energy efficiency and mitigating the carbon footprint of our built environment,” stated Kim Shanahan, Executive Officer of the Santa Fe Area Home Builders Association. “Addressing the water/energy nexus is the next big challenge to mitigating our carbon footprint.”

The Summit will take place June 4-6, 2017 at the Santa Fe Convention Center in Santa Fe, NM. Attendees can register to attend the Summit for just $299. This will allow admittance to both keynote speakers, any educational session, and breakfast & lunch on Monday and Tuesday. Just as important, attendees will be able to network with a broad spectrum of stakeholders while working towards solutions for their respective challenges.

Hosts of the event will be the Santa Fe Green Chamber of Commerce (lead host), Green Builder® Coalition, City of Santa Fe, and the Santa Fe Area Home Builders Association. Santa Fe Community College is the official education sponsor, and Green Builder® Media is the national media sponsor.