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.

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/

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.

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.

City of Santa Fe to Require WERS Starting March 1

City of Santa FeBeginning on March 1, 2017, the City of Santa Fe will require all new single-family residential projects to provide a preliminary Water Efficiency Rating Score (WERS)® of 70 or less when applying for a permit. The same project will then need to supply a final WERS of 70 or less in order to receive a certificate of occupancy.

“This is a landmark decision by the City of Santa Fe, as no other jurisdiction has ever adopted a performance-based water efficiency requirement”, stated Green Builder® Coalition Executive Director Mike Collignon. “With the support of the Santa Fe Area Home Builders Association, the Water Conservation Committee and others, the City was able to craft and implement a forward-thinking policy that preserves design freedom and product choice, while ensuring the City moves in a water-efficient direction.”

In order to help the City execute this initiative, local building analysts are stepping up. Steve Vollstedt of HERS-NM, LLC attended the inaugural WERS Verifier course in March 2016. After passing the written and field exams, and performing his probationary verifications, he became the first accredited WERS Verifier.

Vollstedt is no stranger to a jobsite. He has conducted hundreds of HERS ratings and has reviewed over 1,000 certification submissions on behalf of the Build Green New Mexico program. Vollstedt is also a National Green Building Standard-accredited Green Verifier. When the opportunity to add water analysis presented itself, he felt it was a service offering that would be vital to his community. “Water conservation and efficiency is arguably more critical to our environment than energy efficiency”, Vollstedt asserted. “We can create electrical energy with cost-effective, clean energy-producing systems, such as photovoltaics and wind generators. There is no practical or cost-effective way to produce or replace water resources that we are rapidly depleting and polluting.”

Vollstedt is the first in a line of WERS Verifiers ready to assist the City. In the coming weeks, we’ll feature more Santa Fe building professionals working to ensure the sustainability of their City.

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.