January 27, 2016 – The National Association of Home Builders’ Board of Directors passed a resolution on January 21, 2016 supporting voluntary water efficiency measures. The resolution, approved by voice vote with no opposition, provides state and local homebuilders associations the guidance necessary as they develop their own local water conservation policies.
“Two important concepts in the NAHB resolution sprung from the experience Santa Fe builders have undergone in recent years as Santa Fe significantly lowered its water consumption”, according to Kim Shanahan, Executive Officer of the Santa Fe Area Home Builders Association. “One is that any new home must offset its proposed water consumption by proving other measures have been taken that permanently reduce the water system usage by an equal or greater amount – such as switching out older high flow toilets with low-flow toilets. The second concept has been the development of the Water Efficiency Rating Score (WERS), which is a predictive, water consumption calculation tool that proves to a jurisdiction what the builder claims is likely to be true.”
The final paragraph of the resolution reads:
“Be it further resolved that NAHB encourage the development and voluntary use of water calculation tools that account for total water consumption both within the structure(s) and the overall property and include both delivered potable water and water from precipitation.”
Both the WERS Development Group and Green Builder® Coalition staff endorse NAHB’s actions on this vital issue. “We applaud Kim Shanahan’s leadership to address this growing concern amongst both homebuilders and communities,” said Mike Collignon, Executive Director of the Green Builder® Coalition. “He initiated this resolution in June 2015, and has been an advocate for water efficiency for years.”
Since February 2014, The Coalition has helped develop the Water Efficiency Rating Score 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.
WERS (www.wers.us) 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.