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.