Built Green Canada’s Partnership with Green Builder® Coalition Brings First Performance-Based Water Rating to Canada
Built Green Canada has partnered with the Green Builder® Coalition to bring performance-based water efficiency to Canada through its third-party certification programs’ water conservation section.
Though parts of Canada, and the world, are increasingly experiencing droughts, and freshwater ecosystems are shown to be under stress, water conservation in the residential building industry has not received the attention energy efficiency has, though they are both connected and significant; in this respect, the Water Efficiency Rating Score (WERS)® is a step forward.
WERS is based on measurable parameters, along with a scoring scale of zero to 100, zero being the most desirable. Indoor water use considers the main plumbing fixtures of toilets, showers, lavatory and kitchen sinks, clothes washers and structural waste. Those who run the shower for a while before getting hot water are familiar with structural waste: it refers to the amount of water wasted before usable hot water arrives at the furthest hot-water using fixture.
Meanwhile, WERS includes the ability to account for all outdoor water use, as well as reuse via rainwater, greywater and blackwater catchment calculations. Depending on the verified filtration methods for rainwater and greywater, they can be used to offset indoor water use. Additionally, any remaining unused rainwater, greywater and/or blackwater (if applicable) can be credited to potential outdoor use.
“Industry and all orders of government increasingly are focused on the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) and in the residential building sector, the emphasis is on improving the energy performance of buildings,” says Built Green Canada’s chief executive officer Jenifer Christenson. “While energy efficiency is an essential component of sustainable building practices—and our programs—we want to broaden the conversation and shine a light on a more balanced approach that also includes indoor air quality, waste management, and water conservation—some of the key areas of our programs. Despite Canada’s water endowment, we are not immune to water shortages and periods of drought. Moreover, reductions in water usage will save energy, further contributing to the decrease in GHGs.”
Built Green Canada recognizes the pressure on municipalities to supply water to households: managing water demand and financing, building and repairing water infrastructure is a priority. The reduction in water usage can help lessen a number of challenges, including water shortages and increased energy consumption to pump and treat water, pollutants in water bodies, and the expansion of water and wastewater infrastructure. A focus on water conservation helps reduce the load on civic infrastructure: a reduction that can result in a significant financial savings while supporting climate mitigation targets.
“Water shortages and droughts don’t adhere to boundaries, so taking WERS beyond the borders of the United States is a natural progression for the program,” said Mike Collignon, executive director of the Green Builder® Coalition. “I’ve long felt that the policies and incentives that can be linked to WERS are equally applicable, and potentially more essential, outside the United States. We’re excited to partner with Built Green Canada on this journey.”
The WERS tool will be Canadianized in the coming months, verifier training will occur in the spring, and Built Green is encouraging trials through 2019. Builders will earn points toward their BUILT GREEN® home certification, while being able to understand the overall performance of their projects’ water use and make smart choices on the products they incorporate into their builds—and pass along the associated benefits to their customers.
The BUILT GREEN® Single Family and Renovation programs already utilize Natural Resources Canada’s EnerGuide label, which calculates the build’s energy efficiency and helps builders and homeowners understand how the home’s energy is being used—much like WERS does for water usage.
Built Green Canada is an industry-driven, national, non-profit organization offering third-party certified programs for single family, renovations, and high density projects. Since its inception, builders have worked with Built Green to complete over 31,280 certified homes represented in Alberta, British Columbia, Saskatchewan, and Ontario—including the units in multi-story projects, the total is over 34,135.
Conventional turfgrass is a large consumer of water, wasting up to 50% of our clean drinking water according to the EPA. A modern toilet uses 6 gallons per day, but your average lawn uses 2,500 gallons per day. Plus, it adds significantly to your water bill, as those who have irrigation systems are acutely aware. Your lawn can also be a cause for a higher Water Efficiency Rating Score (WERS)®. That’s why the Green Builder® Coalition has partnered with Pearl’s Premium via the WERS – Manufacturer Program to provide a 20% discount on their award winning mixtures of sunny, shady, and sun/shade grass seed, when buying at www.PearlsPremium.com and putting in the discount code “WERS20”.
The time for planting grass seed is now for the southern half of the country, including California. For the rest of the country, plant in the early spring, early fall or whenever soil temperatures are between 50 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. To check your local soil temperature, go to www.PearlsPremium.com, click on the green button in the upper left corner and put in your city and state. If you are re-seeding, do not tear up the lawn. Simply spread the seeds over existing grass to out-compete the existing grass and weeds to look dark green and beautiful (like the picture at right) in all 50 states, Canada and all climates worldwide:
Jackson Madnick, founder and seed developer at Pearl’s Premium, said, “People in California and hot climates call it ‘The Holy Grail of Grass’ or ‘Guilt Free Grass’, not using all that water, chemicals, time, protecting health, saving money and helping to lessen climate change.” Madnick also noted it is the only grass that can earn LEED Credits (up to 6).
“In some areas of the United States, a lawn is a luxury that few can afford due to both the cost of water and the intense consumer of time: mowing weekly. In some places, it’s just environmentally irresponsible,” exclaimed Mike Collignon, Executive Director of the Green Builder® Coalition. “My hope is that people consider this product as a way to have the best of both worlds; a beautiful lawn for themselves and their family, but with a very small ecological footprint.” Collignon went on to say he planted some of Pearl’s Premium in his own backyard, and within 7 days, it sprouted and now looks great.
Pearl’s Premium becomes the fourth manufacturer to join the WERS – Manufacturer Program, following Evolve Technologies, Ecovie, and Flow-Know.
About Pearl’s Premium
Pearl’s Premium Ultra-Low Maintenance Lawn Seed is a patented, extreme drought-tolerant grass that delivers breakthrough performance. Because it grows very slowly, it only needs to be mowed once a month, rather than weekly. It grows very deep 4-foot roots rather than 3 or 6-inch roots, so a homeowner will be able to cut turf watering by 75%. From the deep roots, it never needs lawn chemicals to out-compete most weeds and stay green year-round, so it is safer for children, animals and the elderly. Rather than chemicals for nutrients, Pearl’s Premium Grass needs small amounts of safer organic fertilizer or compost applied only once or twice a year. From the 4-foot deep roots in the ground and more surface area above the soil, this grass sequesters 8 X the carbon, pulling it out of the air to lock into the soil, to actually help lessen climate change and extreme weather. Its roots do not spread sideways, so there is no weeding of the grass out of flower or vegetable beds. It is dark green, barefoot soft, Non-GMO and fairly weed free. Pearl’s Premium has had over 300 rave reviews by experts & is sold at select Whole Foods. Pearl’s Premium gives back, donating seed to Habitat for Humanity & other causes related to children, animals & environmental education. For more info and to purchase, visit www.PearlsPremium.com or call (508) 653-0800.
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