Green Builder® Coalition Earns Service Mark for WERS from USPTO

The Green Builder® Coalition recently received the official service mark for the Water Efficiency Rating Score (WERS)® from the United States Patent & Trademark Office. The process, which took 2 years to complete, was successful thanks to the diligent collaboration of Coalition staff and a national legal firm specializing in intellectual property.

Mike Collignon, Executive Director of the Green Builder® Coalition, said, “This milestone is just further validation of the WERS Program in the United States. What originated and is now established in New Mexico will spread to other areas of the U.S. When it does, the building industry will know they are using the leading residential water efficiency program.”

WERS Educational Sessions at Industry Conferences

Here is the list of upcoming WERS conference sessions:

  • 2017 National Home Performance Conference (formerly known as ACI) – 10:30am and 3:30pm on March 20, 2017 in Nashville, TN
  • WaterCon 2017 – 2:30pm on March 22, 2017 in Springfield, IL
  • NMWCA – 12:00pm on April 13, 2017 in Santa Fe, NM

Registration Now Open for Next Generation Water Summit

Next Generation Water Summit logoEarly bird registration has officially opened for the Next Generation Water Summit. Through March 31st, attendees can register to attend the Summit for $249. This will allow admittance to any Sunday, Monday and Tuesday session, regardless of track. Just as important, attendees will be able to network with a broad spectrum of stakeholders while working towards solutions for their respective challenges.

The Summit will occur June 4-6, 2017 at the Santa Fe Convention Center in Santa Fe, NM. Confirmed educational sessions include:

  • WaterSense at 10: The Past, Present & Future
  • WERS®: Today & Tomorrow
  • Panel Session: Making Regional Water Groups Work
  • Rainwater: Inside & Out
  • Case Study: Santa Fe’s Adoption of WERS®
  • WaterSense for New Homes: Why Certify?
  • Stormwater Analysis with WERS®

10’ x 10’ exhibit booths are available starting at just $499! Sponsorships start as low as $500. Full event information is available on the Summit website.

The overarching theme of the event will be how to sustain the building/development industry in western states with declining water resources, even as the next decade experiences surging growth from retiring Baby Boomers. The first day (Sunday) will have a Green Expo at the Convention Center, with local experts presenting seminars in the break-out rooms. Three educational tracks, targeting Builders & Designers, Policymakers, and Water Conservation Experts, will span three days. There will be 12 sessions on Sunday afternoon, followed by a full slate on Monday & Tuesday. Keynote speakers will open Monday & Tuesday’s proceedings. Pre-conference courses, including QWEL training, ARCSA AP training and WERS® Verifier training, are scheduled.

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.

Ecovie Brings Rainwater, Greywater Systems to WERS – Manufacturer Program

One of the best methods for lowering your WERS is to implement water reuse strategies. Thanks to Ecovie® Water Management Systems, those strategies just got a lot more appealing.

Ecovie is offering a 20% discount on their AQUALOOP greywater recycling systems and PURAIN rainwater collection components. “The financial savings that Ecovie is offering is incredibly significant. If projects utilize this discount, it will more than cover the cost of a WERS certification,” said Green Builder® Coalition Executive Director Mike Collignon.

Ecovie logoThe AQUALOOP greywater system produces water that is bacteria and virus free, with input water from household greywater, rainwater, surface water, or groundwater. It allows the property owner to recycle greywater from showers and laundry easily and economically. You can then use the AQUALOOP greywater to irrigate, flush toilets, and run laundry. AQUALOOP is certified to NSF 350. This means that greywater treated with the AQUALOOP process is suitable for indoor use for applications like toilet flushing and laundry. It also means that Aqualoop treated water can be stored for extended periods and used for spray irrigation. Unlike other processes which require greywater to be used within 24 hours and then only for subsurface drip irrigation, AQUALOOP water is free to be used for a much wider variety of applications.

The PURAIN rainwater filter, also known as the hydraulic jump filter, can accommodate roof areas ranging from 1,000 square feet to more than 70,000 square feet.  Using a design that comes from nature, this hydraulic jump technology cleans itself automatically, with the highest capture efficiency of any self-cleaning filter.

“We are very happy to support the WERS Program. One of the first ways to water management is to quantify the effects of the steps you are taking. WERS does just that,” stated Ecovie founder Bob Drew. To obtain the discount, make sure to mention you’re working towards WERS certification when you call (404) 824-9266 or e-mail Ecovie to place your order.

“If you’re thinking of installing a rainwater or greywater system, it makes a lot of sense to choose an Ecovie system and couple it with a WERS certification,” said Collignon. “You’ll be financially ahead, and you’ll also be able to identify where and how much water you’re using, in case you want to consider additional efficiency measures.”

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.

Since February 2014, The Coalition has helped develop the WERS Program for new and existing residential properties. The WERS Tool was first used in November 2015 to help a New Mexico homebuilder save significant time and money on his pursuit of a building permit.

About Ecovie
Ecovie is your rainwater collection and greywater recycling partner for your business, public building, or home.

At Ecovie, we believe our water supply challenges can be solved with smarter water management. We have assembled an innovative array of products and services to better manage our fresh water with rainwater collection, stormwater management, and greywater recycling. We apply our expertise to developing innovative, cost-efficient solutions for your new or existing building, be it for commercial or residential-sized projects. Our product line has been selected with the highest performance at the right price in mind. These products are integrated into our overall system design.

Next Generation Water Summit To Be Held In Santa Fe

Santa Fe will host the inaugural Next Generation Water Summit on June 4-6, 2017. This first-of-its-kind, national event will feature three educational tracks, two keynote speakers and an expo. The Summit will begin with the Green Expo, an exhibition presented by the Santa Fe Green Chamber of Commerce. All events will take place at the Santa Fe Community Convention Center.

Water scarcity is emerging as a critical challenge to the western United States. The limits of water could halt construction in the west, bringing economic development to a standstill. This Summit will bring together a broad range of stakeholders to develop strategies that integrate a variety of interests and develop real solutions. “Making our communities sustainable in the long term given predicted drops in renewable surface water flows, and resilient to short term and long term impacts from the effects of climate change, are critical issues across the Southwestern United States, as well as many other regions around the world,” said City Councilor Peter Ives. “The City of Santa Fe is honored to host the Next Generation Water Summit, which is designed to continue the dialogue on how we can and must do more with less water.”

Three tracks will focus on emerging policy development, building design and construction, and water conservation tools and technologies, respectively. “The unique aspect of this event is the integration of field professionals into policy development and design,” said Green Builder® Coalition Executive Director Mike Collignon. “The Next Generation Water Summit aims to close the loop on water efficiency, so that those who create and manage water efficiency programs can network with the practitioners of those programs.”

Pre-Summit courses will include a Water Efficiency Rating Score (WERS®) Verifier course, an ARCSA Rainwater Harvesting AP course, a 2-day Greywater course and a Qualified Water Efficient Landscaper (QWEL) course. All will be held at nearby Santa Fe Community College. The Summit will be the first event to offer continuing education for those trained in either the WERS Program or WaterSense for Homes.

This event is being co-hosted by The City of Santa Fe, the Green Chamber of Commerce, the Green Builder® Coalition and the Santa Fe Area Home Builders Association. Sponsorships, booths and attendee registration will be available in the coming weeks. For more information, please contact:

Glenn Schiffbauer
Santa Fe Green Chamber of Commerce
glenn@nmgreenchamber.com

Mike Collignon
Executive Director, Green Builder® Coalition
info@greenbuildercoalition.org

Santa Fe Taking Steps To Be Leader In Water Efficiency

City of Santa Fe

Santa Fe, NM – The City of Santa Fe is nearing the finish line on the road to become the first municipality in the nation to integrate a performance-based water efficiency requirement in its building code. The adoption of the Water Efficiency Rating Score (WERS) would be part of a larger update to the City’s residential green building code. To view the proposed bill, please click here.

According to Kim Shanahan, Executive Officer of the Santa Fe Area Home Builders Association, “Santa Fe area homebuilders recognized years ago that our community’s future growth was tied to the water supply. If we can’t stretch our limited supply of water, we can’t continue to grow and the building industry would suffer.”

For the past year, these changes have been reviewed and discussed at multiple public hearings. The Sustainable Santa Fe Commission was the first to approve the residential green building code updates, followed by the Planning Commission, the Public Works Committee, the Water Conservation Committee, the Finance Committee and the Public Utilities Committee. The City Council is set to hold another public hearing at City Hall, 200 Lincoln Avenue in Santa Fe at 7pm on Wednesday, October 26th. The Council is expected to make a final decision in early November.

Green Builder® Coalition Executive Director Mike Collignon said, “Santa Fe is taking an unprecedented step in adopting a performance-based requirement, and should be commended for it. By going with a performance-based approach instead of a prescriptive requirement, Santa Fe is giving its design/build community greater design and product flexibility than any other city in the country.”

WERS is a predictive, performance-based approach to residential water efficiency and water resource management. The WERS is the culmination of calculations that consider the loading from principal plumbing fixtures, clothes washers, structural waste, and outdoor water management. Potential rainwater and greywater catchment are also calculated. Applicable for both new and existing single-family and multifamily residential properties, it uses a scoring scale of zero to 100, with zero being the most desirable and 100 representing the baseline home.

WERS Verifier Training to Return to Santa Fe

SFCC logo

Santa Fe Community College (SFCC) will be the site of the 2nd WERS Verifier training class. Held October 26-28, the class will run from 9am to 5pm each day. There will be a mixture of classroom learning and field training, followed by a written exam and field exam. The class pre-requisites are highly recommended for all students.

“We incorporated feedback from the first class, and have made the second class even more interactive,” said EnergySmart Academy Director Amanda Hatherly. “Students really benefit from the hands-on, field-based sections of the training, where they can actively practice what they have been learning with immediate instructor feedback.”

If you are interested in attending the course at SFCC, please click here for more information, including a list of pre-requisites. For registration information, please e-mail Amanda Hatherly with SFCC.

About EnergySmart Academy

The EnergySmart Academy at Santa Fe Community College is a nationally recognized training center specializing in energy efficiency, green building and sustainable technology trainings. As well as offering Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) accredited clean energy programs, Building Performance Institute (BPI) and RESNET trainings, staff have been involved in the development of the WERS protocol and now are offering the first WERS training courses in the country. For more, visit www.energysmartacademy.com.

Green Builder Coalition Signs MOU with NGWA

NGWA logoThe Green Builder® Coalition has signed a 2-year agreement with the National Ground Water Association (NGWA) on the promotion of sustainable groundwater practices through the Water Efficiency Rating Score (WERS) program.

NGWA’s mission is to advance groundwater knowledge and the success of their members through education and outreach; advocacy; cooperation and information exchange; and enhancement of professional practices.

Kevin McCray, CEO of the NGWA, said, “NGWA seeks partners to help us explain the importance of the resource and the things we each can do to use the resource wisely, including among our homes, our farms, and in industry. We are excited to partner with The Green Builder® Coalition to provide promotional assistance on the benefits of sustainable groundwater practices as a way to further water efficiency.”

“One of the big themes of the WERS Program is to utilize the water that falls on the site. For rural homeowners, this is vitally important,” said Coalition Executive Director Mike Collignon. “It makes a lot of sense for us to partner with NGWA, since both organizations have a message that is relevant to a variety of audiences, from individual well owners to municipal planners.”

The agreement calls for support of “Protect Your Groundwater Day”, as well as cross-promotion of NGWA and WERS events to members of NGWA and The Coalition. There will also be a session on WERS at National Groundwater Week, December 6-8, 2016 in Las Vegas.

Since February 2014, The Coalition has helped develop the WERS program for new and existing residential properties. It was first used in November 2015 to help a New Mexico homebuilder save significant time and money on his pursuit of a building permit. The first WERS Verifier training course was held in March 2016, with more coming throughout 2016.

First WERS Class Sold Out

SFCC logo

March 3, 2016 – Santa Fe Community College’s EnergySmart Academy has announced that the inaugural WERS training course, scheduled for March 8-10, has reached capacity. In fact, there are currently two students on the waitlist. Seeing this demand, SFCC anticipates another WERS training course later in 2016.

“Santa Fe Community College is delighted that our first WERS class has had so much interest, not just from Santa Fe but around the state and nation,” said Amanda Hatherly, Director of the EnergySmart Academy.

“We figured interest in the WERS class would be strong in New Mexico, where WERS is cited in the compliance rules for the state’s extremely popular sustainable building tax credit,” said Mike Collignon, Executive Director of the Green Builder® Coalition. “Interestingly, one-third of the class attendees are from outside the state.”

Discussions are already underway to hold WERS training courses in Florida, Georgia and Illinois. “We believe there is a pent-up demand for water efficiency across the country, but it’s hard to know where to start if there are no benchmarks”, Collignon added. “The WERS program provides a snapshot of where we are, so we can better formulate a path to increased water efficiency.”

In addition to a soon-to-be-released online course component offered by SFCC, The Coalition will continue to work with SFCC and other educational partners to expand the number of in-person training opportunities across the United States. To request more information on an in-person course at SFCC, please contact Amanda Hatherly at 505-428-1805 or Amanda.hatherly@sfcc.edu.

About EnergySmart Academy
The EnergySmart Academy at Santa Fe Community College is a nationally recognized training center specializing in energy efficiency, green building and sustainable technology trainings. As well as offering Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) accredited clean energy programs, Building Performance Institute (BPI) and RESNET trainings, staff have been involved in the development of the WERS protocol and now are offering the first WERS training courses in the country. For more, visit www.sfcc.edu/nm_energysmart_academy.

New Mexico Allows WERS Program for Sustainable Building Tax Credit Compliance

February 24, 2016 – Since 2009, the state of New Mexico has offered a sustainable building tax credit to its builders. It has been a strong driver of sustainable homebuilding throughout the state. The program, operated by Build Green New Mexico, is both very popular and lucrative, with a maximum tax credit of $13,000 per house. So it was no surprise that the program ran out of money well ahead of schedule. When the state legislature was asked to extend the tax credit, state politicians stipulated that the water efficiency requirement be increased.

Starting on January 1, 2017, an “owner of a building in New Mexico that has been constructed, renovated or manufactured to be a sustainable residential building and that receives certification… may receive a certificate of eligibility for a new sustainable building tax credit”. When the owner files their documentation, they will be allowed to attach a WERS report to show compliance with the new water efficiency requirement. The WERS program joins Build Green New Mexico and LEED for Homes as compliance paths for water.

Kim Shanahan, Executive Officer of the Santa Fe Area Home Builders Association, was a big proponent of WERS’ inclusion in the tax credit extension. “The original language in the legislation simply said a new home had to meet EPA WaterSense. But WaterSense only measures products and only few products at that. We knew we needed something that could account for all water usage, no matter the product labeling, and for both inside and outside the house. The WERS tool does exactly that,” Shanahan explained.

“The state’s decision to include the WERS program is a testament to how comprehensive and robust WERS is, and it really legitimizes the 2+ years of work the development group has put into WERS” said Green Builder® Coalition Executive Director Mike Collignon. “We look forward to supporting all New Mexican homebuilders who choose to utilize this compliance path.” The inaugural WERS training course will take place March 8-10 at the Santa Fe Community College. To enroll in the class, please contact Amanda Hatherly.

Since February 2014, The Coalition has helped develop the WERS program for new and existing residential properties. It was first used in November 2015 to help a New Mexico homebuilder save significant time and money on his pursuit of a local building permit.