Green Builder Coalition

The Torch – March 2016

The Torch Offical Publication of Green Builder Coalition


First WERS Class Sold Out

SFCC logoSanta 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 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

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

About the Water Efficiency Rating Score (WERS)
The Water Efficiency Rating Score, or 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 property.

As I Am…

Drew Brandt

Recently, we sat down with a green building professional to gain a personal insight into their motivations, inspirations and experiences. This issue, we feature Drew Brandt, Vice President of Marketing for CertainTeed Insulation.Drew Brandt

The Torch: What motivated you to enter the sustainability industry?

Drew Brandt: I have always been an environmentalist and a conservationist. Both sets of my grandparents instilled in me a deep respect for nature and our natural resources. I was also raised around residential and commercial job sites and learned what was necessary to achieve proper building performance. Early in my career, I developed a background in science, manufacturing, and always had a general curiosity for how things work. In 2002, I began researching green building techniques, and loved it immediately. I have focused on learning as much as I can in this area ever since.

TT: Describe your first green project. Did you encounter any hurdles on that first project? (If yes, how did you overcome them?)

DB: My first green project was a little different than most and I definitely experienced many hurdles. I was working in the siding industry and was faced with the daunting task of convincing industry professionals and homeowners that vinyl siding can be considered a sustainable product. I had to look at the science and how the product is made. I also had to understand the facts behind competitive products. Then, after having this information, I had to honestly outline the pros and cons of each option, and perform a detailed analysis.

First steps were to develop an LCA, HPD, and lastly to create a recycling program that utilized not only our recycled material, but also competitive material in our siding. This meant that in a perfect state, if everyone used vinyl siding, you could hypothetically create a continuous waste stream and never use virgin material again. The plan just needed scale. Vinyl siding has the ability to be the greenest cladding material available due to its performance, recyclability, weight, and the way it is manufactured. If we could just eliminate virgin material, it would be perfect.

TT: What building product or technique do you think will be the next “game changer”?

DB: I envision a world where we can cost-effectively build homes with two-story + basement concrete pours. Imagine the air tightness, acoustics, thermals, potential reductions in thermal bridges, and moisture management that could be achieved.

TT: Who inspires you the most?

DB: I admire anyone who can say “I made or designed that”.

TT: If you had it to do over again, what profession would you choose?

DB: Architect or industrial designer.

TT: What do you enjoy the most when you’re not at work?

DB: I have two loves: my family and the outdoors. When I am not going from one sporting event to the other, you can find me working on my property in Northern Chester County, Pennsylvania. Gardening and landscaping are hobbies that offer the perfect combination of time spent outside and instant gratification for your work.

TT: What’s the most important piece of advice you’d like to pass along to others?

DB: Ask a lot of questions, listen to the answers, and then question the answers.

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