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.

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.

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

“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!

WERS Consultant Designation Created

A new designation has been created that better serves those who want a deeper understanding of water ratings, but don’t necessarily want to become an in-the-field verifier or rater. A WERS Consultant would attend a course that has much of the same information as the WERS Verifier course, but would not include the field training or exam. The curriculum reduction means that the entire WERS Consultant course would only take 2 days to complete.

“We think this is an ideal opportunity for builders, architects and designers to learn more about a performance-based water efficiency program that can be very beneficial to their business,” said Mike Collignon, Chair of the WERS Development Group. “In addition to information about the WERS Tool, students will also be exposed to a wealth of technical material and information on relevant industry standards.”

The WERS Consultant designation would require CEUs in order to retain the moniker, but those requirements will be nominal and many will be low-to-no cost. “We’re responding to a market need with this new designation,” Collignon continued. “We’re not trying to overburden people with CEU requirements. Instead, the CEUs simply ensure that the Consultants stay current with us as we continue to learn about the many nuances across this great country. It also keeps an open dialogue with the WERS community, which is something we really value.”

The first opportunity to take this course will be in late October at the Santa Fe Community College in Santa Fe, NM. The nature of the WERS Consultant course also makes it easier to offer online, and those details are currently being addressed by the WERS Development Group.

Green Builder® Coalition Selects Triconic to Expand WERS Program

The Florida Home Builders Association (FHBA) recently announced their sponsorship of a new Certified Ratings Program; offering single-family homebuilders access to independent energy and water ratings based on Florida’s Energy Code and Water Star℠ owned by the St. Johns River Water Management District. For the Program, Triconic created a partnership between Water Star℠, the FHBA, UL and Intertek. The partnership gives home builders a program to get energy and water ratings from the same professionals.

The Green Builder® Coalition has also selected Triconic to administer the Water Efficiency Rating Score (WERS)® and therefore is taking steps to further its support of Water Star℠ objectives and offer certified WERS ratings. WERS provides a performance-based water efficiency rating and complements the prescriptive-based Water Star℠ Program.

“Builders love the flexibility, and with WERS, they’ll have the choice of a prescriptive water rating through Florida Water Star℠, or a performance-based water rating with WERS,” said Green Builder® Coalition and WERS Development Group Chair Mike Collignon.

“The Certified Ratings Program is the first to establish itself among state home builder associations, but with the support and scale of UL and Intertek, it is anticipated that other states will push expansion of similar programs beyond Florida starting late in 2017 and into 2018”, says Darrell Lehman, President of Triconic. Lehman continues, “There is such tremendous support for comprehensive energy and water rating options. So Triconic will continue fostering partnerships to bring builders more options like bringing WERS to Florida.”

Kim Shanahan, Coalition Board Chair, agreed. “The partnership Triconic assembled sets an exciting precedent that can and should be replicated with HBAs across the nation that seek to provide performance-based choices for rating energy and water usage in homes built by their members. The Green Builder® Coalition is eager to assist Triconic as it expands its outreach to other state HBAs.”

“This is a partnership we’ve been working on for quite some time,” said Collignon. “We always knew we would need assistance meeting demand from across the country. With the partners involved, we can take a program that originated in Santa Fe, NM and elevate it to the national (and potentially international) stage. The Coalition’s Board of Directors and the WERS Development Group are excited for the expansion of WERS.”

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About the St. Johns River Water Management District & Florida Water Star SM
St. Johns River Water Management District staff are committed to ensuring the sustainable use and protection of water resources for the benefit of the people of the district and the state of Florida. The St. Johns River Water Management District is one of five districts in Florida managing groundwater and surface water supplies in the state. The district encompasses all or part of 18 northeast and east-central Florida counties. District headquarters are in Palatka, and staff also are available to serve the public at service centers in Maitland, Jacksonville and Palm Bay. Connect with us on Twitter at @SJRWMD, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. For more information about the district, please visit www.sjrwmd.com.

About Triconic
Triconic designs, builds and operates certification programs for certification program sponsors. Triconic’s team has decades of experience in the Testing Inspection Certification (TIC) industry and can adapt a program to any certification area. Triconic provides a user-friendly certification experience, complete with software based certification tools, so clients can obtain their certifications quickly and easily. To learn more, please visit www.triconic.com.

About Intertek
Intertek is a leading Total Quality Assurance provider to industries worldwide. Through our network of more than 1,000 laboratories and offices and over 42,000 people in more than 100 countries, the Group is re-defining the industry with our Total Quality Assurance proposition. We go beyond physical quality control to provide total peace of mind through our innovative and bespoke Assurance, Testing, Inspection and Certification solutions for our customers’ operations and supply chains. Intertek Total Quality Assurance expertise, delivered consistently, with precision, pace and passion, enabling our customers to power ahead safely. www.intertek.com

About UL
UL fosters safe living and working conditions for people everywhere through the application of science to solve safety, security and sustainability challenges. The UL Mark engenders trust enabling the safe adoption of innovative new products and technologies. Everyone at UL shares a passion to make the world a safer place. We test, inspect, audit, certify, validate, verify, advise and train and we support these efforts with software solutions for safety and sustainability. To learn more, please visit ul.com.

About Green Builder® Coalition
The Green Builder® Coalition is the program sponsor for the Water Efficiency Rating Score (WERS)®. On a broader scale, The Coalition is a not-for-profit association dedicated to amplifying the voice of green builders and professionals to drive advocacy, information and education for more sustainable home building practices. We are an action-oriented community of green builders and professionals dedicated to uniting and growing our joint expertise, values and voice to create stronger standards for sustainable, more environmentally responsible home building. For more information, visit www.greenbuildercoalition.org.