The Torch - December 2015

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WERS Program Helps Homebuilder Save Thousands on Building Permit Fees

WERS logoWhen homebuilder Bill Roth of Modern Design + Construction, Inc. recently submitted a building permit application, he had to declare how much water his latest project would use. This is part of an alternative “Plan B” permitting process for homebuilders in Santa Fe, NM.  Under this plan, homeowners can commit to using less water annually than the average home, in trade for a lower permit fee based on their reduced water consumption.  Accurately demonstrating the projected water use of a new home in your permit application has been a challenge… until now. This time, Roth had something new that enabled his application to get accepted in the blink of an eye, while saving his client approximately $2,000.

The Water Efficiency Rating Score, or 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.

Using the WERS program, Roth had his house plans analyzed by David Dunlap of Tierra Concepts. The preliminary report included everything Roth needed for his permit application.  According to Dunlap, “Having an analytical model like WERS, to clearly show the predicted water consumption for a new home, makes compliance with the city Plan B water program simple for everyone. This building permit application, using the WERS report, marks a huge step forward in water conservation efforts.”

All exterior water usage will be supplied through the use of reclaimed water. According to Roth, those systems will cost around $6,000. By leveraging the WERS program to prove he would not need potable water for the exterior, he was able to secure a significantly lower tap fee. “It was the equivalent of a 30% rebate. In Santa Fe, real savings can be had immediately,” said Roth.

“This project represents the first use of the WERS program in the market. Certification won’t occur until the project is completed, but this represents a significant moment for residential water efficiency”, said Mike Collignon, Executive Director of the Green Builder® Coalition. “The financial savings achieved by this project are eye-catching and just another reason for homeowners to make water efficient choices.”


Green Builder® Coalition Elects Two Board Members

Bill LazarTim O'BrienIn early November, the Green Builder® Coalition membership elected two new Board members: Bill Lazar and Tim O’Brien. They will now join Maria Kingery, Craig Conner, Kim Shanahan and Ex-Officio Steve Hale. Executive Director Mike Collignon said, “We face some very significant decisions in the weeks and months ahead, and the Board and I are excited to begin working with Bill and Tim in the very near future.”

Bill Lazar is a residential contractor and Executive Director of St. Johns Housing Partnership, a private not for profit company dedicated to affordable housing in NE Florida. Bill is actively involved in the St. Johns Builders Council, the Florida Weatherization Network and local high school construction programs.

Tim O'Brien is the President of Tim O'Brien Homes. Tim has been an active member of the local and state builders association, serving on the Single-Family Builders Council, the Habitat for Humanity Home Builder Blitz, and Chairman of the Green Building Council. He is a past President for the Metropolitan Builders Association and currently is a board member on the Wisconsin Builders Foundation; the education and philanthropic non-profit that supports the state builders association. He is also an active NAHB board member.

The Board and Collignon thank Co-Founder, original Board Chairman and outgoing Ex-Officio Ron Jones for his service on the Board since The Coalition’s inception in 2010. We certainly appreciate his leadership and guidance over the past 5+ years.


Happy Holidays from all of us at The Green Builder® Coalition. We look forward to a happy, peaceful and sustainable new year.


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