Built Green Canada’s Partnership with Green Builder® Coalition Brings First Performance-Based Water Rating to Canada

Built Green CanadaBuilt Green Canada has partnered with the Green Builder® Coalition to bring performance-based water efficiency to Canada through its third-party certification programs’ water conservation section.

Though parts of Canada, and the world, are increasingly experiencing droughts, and freshwater ecosystems are shown to be under stress, water conservation in the residential building industry has not received the attention energy efficiency has, though they are both connected and significant; in this respect, the Water Efficiency Rating Score (WERS)® is a step forward.

WERS is based on measurable parameters, along with a scoring scale of zero to 100, zero being the most desirable. Indoor water use considers the main plumbing fixtures of toilets, showers, lavatory and kitchen sinks, clothes washers and structural waste. Those who run the shower for a while before getting hot water are familiar with structural waste: it refers to the amount of water wasted before usable hot water arrives at the furthest hot-water using fixture.

Meanwhile, WERS includes the ability to account for all outdoor water use, as well as reuse via rainwater, greywater and blackwater catchment calculations. Depending on the verified filtration methods for rainwater and greywater, they can be used to offset indoor water use. Additionally, any remaining unused rainwater, greywater and/or blackwater (if applicable) can be credited to potential outdoor use.

“Industry and all orders of government increasingly are focused on the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) and in the residential building sector, the emphasis is on improving the energy performance of buildings,” says Built Green Canada’s chief executive officer Jenifer Christenson. “While energy efficiency is an essential component of sustainable building practices—and our programs—we want to broaden the conversation and shine a light on a more balanced approach that also includes indoor air quality, waste management, and water conservation—some of the key areas of our programs. Despite Canada’s water endowment, we are not immune to water shortages and periods of drought. Moreover, reductions in water usage will save energy, further contributing to the decrease in GHGs.”

Built Green Canada recognizes the pressure on municipalities to supply water to households: managing water demand and financing, building and repairing water infrastructure is a priority. The reduction in water usage can help lessen a number of challenges, including water shortages and increased energy consumption to pump and treat water, pollutants in water bodies, and the expansion of water and wastewater infrastructure. A focus on water conservation helps reduce the load on civic infrastructure: a reduction that can result in a significant financial savings while supporting climate mitigation targets.

WERS logo“Water shortages and droughts don’t adhere to boundaries, so taking WERS beyond the borders of the United States is a natural progression for the program,” said Mike Collignon, executive director of the Green Builder® Coalition. “I’ve long felt that the policies and incentives that can be linked to WERS are equally applicable, and potentially more essential, outside the United States. We’re excited to partner with Built Green Canada on this journey.”

The WERS tool will be Canadianized in the coming months, verifier training will occur in the spring, and Built Green is encouraging trials through 2019. Builders will earn points toward their BUILT GREEN® home certification, while being able to understand the overall performance of their projects’ water use and make smart choices on the products they incorporate into their builds—and pass along the associated benefits to their customers.

The BUILT GREEN® Single Family and Renovation programs already utilize Natural Resources Canada’s EnerGuide label, which calculates the build’s energy efficiency and helps builders and homeowners understand how the home’s energy is being used—much like WERS does for water usage.

Built Green Canada is an industry-driven, national, non-profit organization offering third-party certified programs for single family, renovations, and high density projects. Since its inception, builders have worked with Built Green to complete over 31,280 certified homes represented in Alberta, British Columbia, Saskatchewan, and Ontario—including the units in multi-story projects, the total is over 34,135.

Pearl’s Premium, the Ultimate Grass, Adds WERS to its Long List of Partners

pearls-premium-logoConventional turfgrass is a large consumer of water, wasting up to 50% of our clean drinking water according to the EPA. A modern toilet uses 6 gallons per day, but your average lawn uses 2,500 gallons per day. Plus, it adds significantly to your water bill, as those who have irrigation systems are acutely aware. Your lawn can also be a cause for a higher Water Efficiency Rating Score (WERS)®. That’s why the Green Builder® Coalition has partnered with Pearl’s Premium via the WERS – Manufacturer Program to provide a 20% discount on their award winning mixtures of sunny, shady, and sun/shade grass seed, when buying at www.PearlsPremium.com and putting in the discount code “WERS20”.

The time for planting grass seed is now for the southern half of the country, including California. For the rest of the country, plant in the early spring, early fall or whenever soil temperatures are between 50 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. To check your local soil temperature, go to www.PearlsPremium.com, click on the green button in the upper left corner and put in your city and state. If you are re-seeding, do not tear up the lawn. Simply spread the seeds over existing grass to out-compete the existing grass and weeds to look dark green and beautiful (like the picture below) in all 50 states, Canada and all climates worldwide:

pearls-premium-lawn

Jackson Madnick, founder and seed developer at Pearl’s Premium, said, “People in California and hot climates call it ‘The Holy Grail of Grass’ or ‘Guilt Free Grass’, not using all that water, chemicals, time, protecting health, saving money and helping to lessen climate change.” Madnick also noted it is the only grass that can earn LEED Credits (up to 6).

“In some areas of the United States, a lawn is a luxury that few can afford due to both the cost of water and the intense consumer of time: mowing weekly. In some places, it’s just environmentally irresponsible,” exclaimed Mike Collignon, Executive Director of the Green Builder® Coalition. “My hope is that people consider this product as a way to have the best of both worlds; a beautiful lawn for themselves and their family, but with a very small ecological footprint.” Collignon went on to say he planted some of Pearl’s Premium in his own backyard, and within 7 days, it sprouted and now looks great.

Pearl’s Premium becomes the fourth manufacturer to join the WERS – Manufacturer Program, following Evolve Technologies, Ecovie, and Flow-Know.

pearls premium - roots

About Pearl’s Premium
Pearl’s Premium Ultra-Low Maintenance Lawn Seed is a patented, extreme drought-tolerant grass that delivers breakthrough performance. Because it grows very slowly, it only needs to be mowed once a month, rather than weekly. It grows very deep 4-foot roots rather than 3 or 6-inch roots, so a homeowner will be able to cut turf watering by 75%. From the deep roots, it never needs lawn chemicals to out-compete most weeds and stay green year-round, so it is safer for children, animals and the elderly. Rather than chemicals for nutrients, Pearl’s Premium Grass needs small amounts of safer organic fertilizer or compost applied only once or twice a year. From the 4-foot deep roots in the ground and more surface area above the soil, this grass sequesters 8 X the carbon, pulling it out of the air to lock into the soil, to actually help lessen climate change and extreme weather. Its roots do not spread sideways, so there is no weeding of the grass out of flower or vegetable beds. It is dark green, barefoot soft, Non-GMO and fairly weed free. Pearl’s Premium has had over 300 rave reviews by experts & is sold at select Whole Foods. Pearl’s Premium gives back, donating seed to Habitat for Humanity & other causes related to children, animals & environmental education. For more info and to purchase, visit www.PearlsPremium.com or call (508) 653-0800.

Santa Barbara Eyes WERS for Administering Code Compliance

On August 14th, 2018, Santa Barbara (CA) City Council adopted an ordinance modifying water metering regulations and incentivizing ultra-high water use efficiency projects. To help assess the efficiency of multifamily projects, the City is looking to enlist the Water Efficiency Rating Score (WERS)® as a path to administer compliance.

City of Santa Barbara sealUnder the new ordinance, developers would have more flexible water metering options by verifying their project meets ultra-high water use efficiency standards through an independent rating institution. The Public Works Director is finalizing an administrative policy for implementation of the ordinance, including standards for ultra-high water use efficiency and approval of independent rating institutions. Madeline Wood, Water Conservation Supervisor for the City of Santa Barbara, said, “We worked with local industry stakeholders to formulate a path to code compliance that both met the City’s need for conservation and the practical needs of the design/build community. After much consideration, we think this will be a good fit for all parties.”

The Water Efficiency Rating Score (WERS)® is an independent rating system that evaluates water usage and conservation. Since it is a performance-based program, it would allow the City to simultaneously enforce existing conservation requirements while incentivizing new efficiency measures. At the same time, there is a certain level of flexibility for the design/build community within the program in order to help meet client needs.

“The City of Santa Barbara’s innovative spirit should be commended,” stated Mike Collignon, Chair of the WERS Development Group. “They are the first municipality to incorporate performance-based water conservation into their multifamily regulations.” Collignon also lauded the collaborative efforts of Santa Fe, NM. At the request of Santa Barbara staff, Santa Fe shared their codification experience with WERS. The City of Santa Fe has used WERS as a code requirement for single-family properties since March 2017.

The ordinance does not take effect until September 13, 2018.

Flow-Know® Becomes Third Company to Join WERS – Manufacturer Program

Gray Line Systems, maker of the Flow-Know® brand of irrigation controllers and flow sensors, is the latest manufacturer to join the WERS – Manufacturer Program.

Flow-Know® will offer a 20% discount on all the products in their online store. “Compared to indoor water use, irrigation is the larger consumer of water,” said Green Builder® Coalition Executive Director Mike Collignon. “Now that property owners can see exactly how much water is being used, they can make efficiency adjustments much sooner.”

The Flow-Know® sprinkler controller is programmed with an iPhone over the Internet. The controller is compatible with all sprinkler systems that utilize 24VAC valves. With support for 2 flow sensors, the Flow-Know® allows a property or building owner to use their iPhone to track both household/business water usage, as well as the landscape water usage, before a surprisingly high water bill arrives.

Joe Bangs, the developer of the Flow-Know technology, is frequently heard saying, “Our water utilities do a great job delivering water to our homes and businesses, but as consumers, we need on-demand, real-time consumption data to effectively manage (and improve) our water use habits. Our phones are an integral part of our lives, so it just makes sense to access our data with just a few taps in the Flow-Know app.”

Discussions with other manufacturers are ongoing, with agreements and corresponding announcements anticipated in the near future. The Coalition continues to seek additional manufacturer partners. To join the program, please contact Mike Collignon.

About Flow-Know®
Gray Line Systems is a technology development and manufacturing company based in San Antonio, Texas. The goal of the Flow-Know® product family is to produce water usage data that helps consumers conserve water and save money. To learn more, please contact Joe Bangs.

Water Rating Index Added to 2018 National Green Building Standard Draft

The Consensus Committee developing the next version of the National Green Building Standard (NGBS) approved the Water Rating Index (WRI), as recommended by the Water Task Group. The WRI will go out for public comment as part of the draft NGBS. If approved, the National Green Building Standard will include the WRI methodology as an appendix and will use the WRI as one option for meeting the water efficiency requirements of the NGBS.

“The zero to 100 rating system, patterned after the Energy Rating Index (ERI) already in code, is a simple metric that consumers and water planners can understand and something builders will use to differentiate themselves from competition. It will drive greater efficiency in water conservation just as the ERI has for energy conservation”, said Kim Shanahan, Executive Officer of the Santa Fe Area Home Builders Association.

“In many areas, water is becoming the new energy,” said Craig Conner, founder of Building Quality. “The WRI is a single number representing the water efficiency of a home, including both the inside and outside water use. I expect the WRI to be used where water availability is limiting construction. The WRI can also be used to compare the costs of achieving water efficiency in homes with the cost of expanding the water supply infrastructure. In many cases, new-home water efficiency will be much less expensive than expanding the water supply and treatment infrastructure.”

The WRI proposal passed overwhelmingly, receiving a 90% majority approval from the Committee. It calls for the creation of an alternative compliance path, whereby builders receive credit for four levels of achievement in the water efficiency chapter depending on the outcome of their water rating. On a scale of 0-100, where lower is better, the following table was approved:

WRI NGBS Level
70 Bronze
60 Silver
50 Gold
40 Emerald

“This is great news for both water-efficient builders and water-conscious communities,” said Mike Collignon, Executive Director of the Green Builder® Coalition and Chair of the WERS Development Group. “Builders who utilize the NGBS would be able to get the credit they deserve for their water-efficient practices, and municipalities that need to ensure their water future would have an ANSI standard to employ.”

Sen. Udall to Keynote “Solutions Day” at Next Generation Water Summit

U.S. Senator Tom Udall (D-NM) will address the Next Generation Water Summit on May 1st in Santa Fe, NM.  His keynote address will begin at 8:15 am at the Santa Fe Community Convention Center.

Senator UdallSenator Udall began serving as U.S. Senator from New Mexico in 2009, after two decades of public service as U.S. Representative and State Attorney General. As a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, he wrote and passed legislation to establish a national renewable electricity standard, which spurred the creation of good jobs, reinvigorated the economy, and reduced global warming emissions.

Energy has been a priority of Udall’s career in Washington, with water becoming more and more important due to population growth and changing climate patterns in the Southwest. “In New Mexico, we know that water is life – and we know that we don’t have water to waste. I’m grateful for the essential work being done across our state to encourage conservation and innovation, and Santa Fe is the perfect place to bring together stakeholders to chart a more sustainable path forward at the Next Generation Water Summit. Together, we can find solutions to secure New Mexico’s water future, as well as the rest of the West,” Senator Udall recently stated.

The Summit is being held April 29 – May 1, 2018. This unique water and water reuse event will feature builders presenting on Net Zero Water Houses and Near Net Zero Water houses. These Southwestern builders will also address both how and why reducing water consumption is the right thing to do to sustain the homebuilding industry in the Southwest. Finally, water professionals from Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Texas, and Utah will discuss and collaborate on distinctive conservation and reuse initiatives within their states.

A limited number of attendees will also be able to register for one of two charrettes. The charrettes are a new feature at this year’s Summit, with only 80 total slots available. The professionally moderated, half-day charrettes will take place on Tuesday, May 1. White papers will be produced and distributed to all Summit attendees, not just those who participate in the charrettes. Prospective attendees will not want to delay registering for this rare opportunity. Early bird registration expires on March 22. For more information on the rest of the Summit, please visit www.NextGenerationWaterSummit.com.

Hosts of the Next Generation Water Summit include the Santa Fe Green Chamber of Commerce, Green Builder® Coalition, City of Santa Fe, the Santa Fe Area Home Builders Association, and The Alliance for Water Efficiency. Major sponsors include Vulcan, a Paul G. Allen Company; and Uponor. Santa Fe Community College is the official education sponsor, and Green Builder® Media is the national media partner.

The Next Generation Water Summit brings together the building and development community, water reuse professionals and water policymakers in a collaborative setting to share best practices and learn about innovative water conservation and water reuse techniques that can be used to comply with water conservation restrictions spreading across the southwest.

Two Charrettes Highlight Next Generation Water Summit

A limited number of attendees will be able to register for one of two charrettes at the upcoming Next Generation Water Summit. The charrettes are a new feature at this year’s Summit, with only 80 total slots available. The professionally moderated, half-day charrettes will take place on Tuesday, May 1. White papers will be produced and distributed to all Summit attendees, not just those who participate in the charrettes.

Next Generation Water Summit logo

The first charrette will try to solve a hypothetical challenge: How to implement a mandated 50% reduction in urban water usage without crippling the building industry. Aimed at the building community, this discussion will utilize a diverse set of perspectives in order to entertain a complete examination of this challenge. A few of the attendees scheduled to participate include: Darrel McMaster, Founder, Sustainable Homes, Inc. (Texas); Mike Collignon, Executive Director, Green Builder® Coalition; Darrell Lehman, President & CEO, Triconic, LLC; and Kim Shanahan, Executive Director, Santa Fe Area Home Builders Association.

“The purpose of this charrette is to contemplate the integration of significant water conservation into the design/build process,” said Collignon. “I’m looking forward to the suggestions on managing customer expectations in different geographies.”

The second charrette will compile best water reuse practices and mistakes in the southwest. As many in the water industry know, alternate water sources (i.e. rainwater, greywater, blackwater and stormwater) are often managed by different entities, and practices can vary from state to state. This charrette will bring together state experts from Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Texas and Utah to share ideas and find common paths to success. A few of the attendees scheduled to participate include: Dr. Robert Mace, Chief Water Policy Officer, Meadows Center for Water and the Environment at Texas State University; Doug Pushard, Founder, HarvestH2o; Peter Mayer, Principal and Founder, WaterDM; and Carol M. Ward-Morris, Assistant Director, Arizona Municipal Water Users Association.

Mayer asked, “Can urban water use be optimized in the American southwest? With a panel of experts representing the entire region, this charrette will consider the range of feasible water efficiency, reuse, and cooperative opportunities.”

Prospective attendees will not want to delay registering for this unique opportunity, as seats are limited. Early bird registration expires on March 7, so people are encouraged to sign up now. For more information on the rest of the Summit, please visit www.NextGenerationWaterSummit.com.

Hosts of the Next Generation Water Summit will be the Santa Fe Green Chamber of Commerce, Green Builder® Coalition, City of Santa Fe, the Alliance for Water Efficiency 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.

The Next Generation Water Summit brings together the building and development community, water reuse professionals and water policymakers in a collaborative setting to share best practices and learn about innovative water conservation and water reuse techniques that can be used to comply with water conservation restrictions spreading across the southwest.

WERS Educational Sessions at Industry Conferences

Here is the list of upcoming WERS educational sessions:

  • Getting to Zero National Forum – 4:00pm on April 18, 2018 in Pittsburgh, PA
  • 2018 Home Performance Coalition National Conference
    • Energy Codes from 2009 to 2018: A Multi-State Look at Compliance Verification Service Opportunities – 10:30am on April 24, 2018 in Philadelphia, PA
    • Water Ratings in Santa Fe: A Look Back at Year 1 – 1:30pm on April 24, 2018 in Philadelphia, PA
  • Next Generation Water Summit
    • WERS: Train the Trainer – 9:00am on April 29, 2018 in Santa Fe, NM
    • WERS Workshop for Builders, Developers and Designers – 3:00pm on April 29, 2018 in Santa Fe, NM
  • American Water Works Association Annual Conference & Expo (ACE) – 8:30am on June 13, 2018 in Las Vegas, NV

Next Generation Water Summit Workshops Offered at Santa Fe Community College

Santa Fe Community College (SFCC) announced its partnership with the 2018 Next Generation Water Summit. As the education partner for the Summit, SFCC will host several water education workshops before and after the Summit, scheduled April 29 through May 1 at the Santa Fe Community Convention Center.

The workshops include: Greywater Basics, Rainwater Accredited Professional (ARCSA AP) Class, Water Efficiency Rating Score and Commercial Water Auditing, among others. This is the first time several of these courses will be presented in New Mexico and are open to professionals and students. All courses will be held at Santa Fe Community College, 6401 Richards Ave. For detailed information about the courses and to register, visit: https://www.energysmartacademy.com/water.html or call 505-428-1866. Information about the 2018 Next Generation Water Summit can be found at: www.NextGenerationWaterSummit.com.

“It’s a privilege to partner with the Alliance for Water Efficiency, the Santa Fe Green Chamber of Commerce, Green Builder® Coalition, the Santa Fe Area Home Builders Association and the City of Santa Fe by serving as the education partner for the Summit,” said Interim President Cecilia Y.M. Cervantes, Ph.D.  “We are excited to offer these valuable and innovative water workshops, which complement the college’s already strong technology and building science offerings.”

  • The Water Efficiency Rating Score (WERS)® Verifier course, April 25 through 27, provides in-depth and practical experience in performing residential water assessments for new and existing homes. This class is required to become a WERS Verifier. The WERS Consultant course, April 25 and 26, is also being offered and plumbers, builders, irrigation professionals and water reuse professionals are eligible to attend this professional designation course.
  • Greywater Basics, April 26 and 27, will cover how to build and maintain a Greywater system and includes a field trip to view working systems.
  • The Rainwater Accredited Professional (ARCSA AP) Class, May 2 and 3, is an in-depth rainwater harvesting workshop required for those seeking a better understanding of rainwater catchment systems. The course tuition includes an ARCSA Rain Harvesting Planning Manual.
  • Commercial Water Auditing, May 2 and 3, will cover the basics of performing a commercial water audit for many type of facilities. A sample audit will be performed as part of the class.

Hosts of the Next Generation Water Summit will be the Santa Fe Green Chamber of Commerce, Green Builder® Coalition, City of Santa Fe, the Alliance for Water Efficiency 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.

The Next Generation Water Summit brings together the building and development community, water reuse professionals and water policymakers in a collaborative setting to share best practices and learn about innovative water conservation and water reuse techniques that can be used to comply with water conservation restrictions spreading across the southwest.

About Santa Fe Community College

For more than 30 years, Santa Fe Community College has been the gateway to success for individuals and the community by providing affordable, high quality educational programs that serve the social, cultural, technological and economic needs of a diverse community. SFCC is designated a ”Best for Vets” and a “2015 Military Friendly” school. The college serves more than 15,000 students per year in its credit, noncredit and adult programs. For further information, visit sfcc.edu or call 505-428-1000. Follow us:  SFCC on Facebook, SFCC on Twitter, SFCC on LinkedIn.

Next Generation Water Summit 2018 Announces Nobel Prize-Winning Keynote Speaker

The Next Generation Water Summit (NGWS) 2018 will host the 2nd annual regional forum, featuring globally recognized climate researcher and Nobel Prize winner, Jonathan Overpeck.

The NGWS 2018 takes place on April 29th – May 1st at the Santa Fe Community Convention Center in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The Next Generation Water Summit brings together developers, builders, architects, and water professionals to share best practices and learn on the best water conservation and water reuse practices from around the southwest.

Jonathan T. OverpeckOverpeck’s visionary work has been at the forefront of the heated climate change public debates and identifying the risks to managing water resources, providing valuable insights into past climate variability and change in the Southwest. He will present on the Climate Change forecasted impact to the Colorado River flows.

The Colorado River Basin covers nearly 246,000 square miles, including parts of the seven “basin States” of Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming and flows into Mexico. The river is the life blood of the Southwest and supplies water to more than 30 million people and irrigates nearly 4 million acres.

“The Next Generation Water Summit is the only event that brings together water, building and land use professionals from the Southwest to collaborate on water reuse and sustainability strategies that are vital to protecting the west’s most vulnerable resource – water,” said Mike Collignon, executive director of the Green Builder Coalition.

“Peck”, as he prefers to be called, is currently the inaugural dean of the University of Michigan (U-M) School for Environment and Sustainability. He previously served as the director of the Institute of the Environment at the University of Arizona. He has published more than 200 works in climate change and the environmental sciences and was one of the lead authors on the report on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which shared the 2007 Nobel Prize with former Vice President Al Gore.

Next Generation Water Summit logoAttendees can register and learn more about other announced speakers at www.NextGenerationWaterSummit.com. Registration includes admittance to the keynote speakers, any educational session and breakfast and lunch on April 30 and May 1. Leisure activities include a white-water rafting trip on the Rio Grande (additional fee) and a treasure hunt along the Margarita Trail.

NGWS sponsors and partners include the Santa Fe Green Chamber of Commerce, Green Builder® Coalition, City of Santa Fe, the Santa Fe Area Home Builders Association, and The Alliance for Water Efficiency. Santa Fe Community College is the official education sponsor.