Green Builder® Coalition Enters New Era
Starting today, the Green Builder® Coalition will begin accepting WaterSense for Homes projects for certification.
One month ago, the Green Builder® Coalition was granted Home Certification Organization (HCO) approval into the WaterSense Labeled Homes program. Under Version 2.0 of the WaterSense Labeled Homes program, HCOs are responsible for ensuring all certified homes meet a minimum efficiency threshold.
The Water Efficiency Rating Score (WERS)®, owned and operated by the Green Builder® Coalition, can enable a project to achieve certification to WaterSense-labeled Homes 2.0 as long as the project earns a WERS of 66 or lower (utilizing WaterSense baselines) and utilizes a simple mandatory checklist from the EPA. For now, only single-family projects will be eligible for WaterSense certification through the Green Builder® Coalition.
“This is a long-awaited day for the WERS Program,” said Green Builder® Coalition Executive Director Mike Collignon. “Allowing WERS as a dual compliance path within WaterSense is a natural fit, and now individuals and communities alike can utilize our performance-based approach to water efficiency.” Collignon also noted that the contributions of Laureen Blissard, Technical Director for the Green Builder® Coalition, and Darrell Lehman, Co-Founder of Triconic, were vital to the launch of this new endeavor.
WaterSense Home Verifiers can enroll in WERS training at any time. Existing WERS Verifiers only need to take and pass the WaterSense Homes module to conduct dual verifications.
“EPA is pleased to expand the reach of our program with this new partnership, which will offer builders more choices when certifying WaterSense labeled homes” said Veronica Blette, head of the WaterSense program. “All HCOs must meet a range of EPA criteria for oversight, training, technical efficacy, and much more. The Green Builder® Coalition has demonstrated their commitment to meeting these requirements and WaterSense-labeled homes certified using WERS will deliver the savings and performance people have come to expect from WaterSense.”
About the Water Efficiency Rating Score (WERS)®
The WERS Program is a performance-based water rating system that can be used to certify new and existing, single-family and multifamily projects. It can accommodate residential properties that employ rainwater, graywater, stormwater and blackwater reuse systems. It has been implemented in codes, green building programs, a financial incentive and a homebuilder’s marketing program. For more information, please visit www.wers.us.
Member Spotlight: Emma Conway
From time to time, we like to throw the spotlight onto our Members to highlight the good work they’re doing in the industry… and for our planet. Today, we feature our newest Member, Emma Conway. She’s our first Canadian Member and our first WERS Verifier operating outside the United States.
The Torch: What motivated you to enter the sustainability field?
Emma Conway: I became passionate about the urban environment and sustainability while studying at the University of Victoria. My last semester I did a Sustainability Field School. It was a road trip visiting different cities and towns from Vancouver BC, Canada to San Francisco California, USA. We visited a number of cutting edge ‘Green Buildings’ and I knew from that point on this was the industry I wanted to build a career in.
TT: Describe your first green project. Did you encounter any hurdles on that first project? (If yes, how did you overcome them?)
EC: I believe one of my first green projects was a BuiltGreen Certified Townhome Development in North Vancouver, BC. At the time I was very ‘green’ and had to learn everything on the job. Everything was learning by doing. It was my first BuiltGreen bootcamp. I learned about the selection of different sustainable products and execution of sustainable building practices. I overcame the challenge of my knowledge gap by putting in the extra time and effort to train myself how to read shop drawings and product specifications. I also had to ask a lot of questions. In the end, I successfully collected all the required documentation and the Project was Certified BuiltGreen Gold.
TT: What building product or technique do you think will be the next “game changer”?
EC: I think the next game changer will be embodied carbon. In BC Canada some municipalities are starting to address building operational emissions (GHGI targets), but embodied carbon is next on the horizon. The City of Vancouver is starting to make policy changes that will start to address embodied carbon in the coming years. This is very exciting as this policy change will lead by example and I hope other policy makers follow suit.
TT: Who inspires you the most?
EC: My inspiration is Einar Halbig, the Managing Partner of E3 Eco Group, the company I work for. He is incredibly knowledgeable about building science, he is supportive of me and all the staff, and he is always progressing our knowledge and skills for the betterment of the company. He is an industry leader as I aspire to be one day, too.
TT: If you had it to do over again, what profession would you choose?
EC: I don’t think I would change careers. I think I am right where I am meant to be. Perhaps I would have changed my undergrad education to a Building Science Major, but I would still want to be an Energy Advisor. I find this to be a very rewarding career.
TT: What do you enjoy the most when you’re not at work?
EC: When I am not at work, I enjoy spending time outdoors with family and friends. Nature is my haven. I love beach days and mornings hiking in the mountains. I am very fortunate, living in Vancouver BC provides both these opportunities in the Summer. I also enjoy all the biking, skiing, surfing, fishing, boating, paddle boarding, and camping BC has to offer. Tofino BC is my favorite place to holiday.
TT: What’s the most important piece of advice you’d like to pass along to others?
EC: Work hard, play hard has always been my family motto. Working hard and putting in the extra effort to progress your career is key. You will never meet your goals by doing the bare minimum. Play hard speaks to the importance of having fun hobbies and making the most of your days off. Work life balance to me means meeting your goals both personally and professionally. Progressing your career, while still finding time to do the things you love.