- GreenHome Institute Endorses WERS Program, Incorporates Into GreenStar
- The Coalition Presents Multiple Sessions on WERS Program
- Upcoming Industry Events
- WERS Update
- As I Am… Stan Clark
- Job Opportunities
- Train of Thought
Water is essential to life, so it’s no surprise that water scarcity garners headlines, especially in the western third of the United States. Yet supply isn’t the only reason to use water in a more efficient manner. Communities that are looking to grow are also interested in lessening the burden on their infrastructure; even more so if it’s starting to show signs of wear.
What can builders and their communities do to assess their water efficient choices? Enter the Water Efficiency Rating Score, or WERS (www.wers.us). It 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.
The GreenHome Institute (GHI) has decided to take a leadership position within the building industry by endorsing the WERS program. This decision comes after months of discussion, scrutiny and testing. “In the Midwest where we do most of our work, we are surrounded by the Great Lakes and water efficiency is a tough sell. That’s what makes our work even more important. Water conservation is needed to help protect our lakes,” said Brett Little, Executive Director of GHI.
GHI is also starting the process of implementing the WERS program as the water criteria for GreenStar, their residential green building program available nationwide. Projects that achieve certain WERS levels will obtain a majority of their water points for various certification levels. “Home energy scores and models are now becoming the norm. Why not water next? It just makes sense. You can’t manage what you don’t measure and you easily weed out most waste through informed design,” stated Little.
“The GreenHome Institute has been interested in the WERS program for nearly a year. They have been just as eager as we have to get this first-of-its-kind water efficiency program into the market”, said Mike Collignon, Executive Director of the Green Builder® Coalition. “Having GreenStar incorporate WERS as its water criteria allows GreenStar builders to remain innovators, and further expand their sustainable construction practices.”
GHI offers bi-weekly webinars that focus on many unique topics to help professionals make more informed decisions in sustainable construction & renovation. On December 2nd, they will host a free, 1-hour, CEU-approved (GBCI, AIA(HSW), AIBD, GCP, etc.) course that will introduce professionals, policy makers and raters to the importance of water conservation and how to navigate the pilot WERS tool to use it on their next project. Check out the Greenhomeinstitute.org – Events page and sign up now as space is limited!
About GreenHome Institute
The GreenHome Institute is a non-profit with a mission to empower people to make healthier and more sustainable choices in the renovation and construction of the places we live. GHI is celebrating their 15th year in 2015 with over 15,000 trained professionals and over 6,000 certified green homes. For more, visit www.GreenHomeInstitute.org.
The Green Builder® Coalition staff has been traversing the country, spreading the word about the WERS program.
In August, Technical Director Laureen Blissard and Executive Director Mike Collignon joined Coalition Member Bill Roth at StormCon 2015 in Austin, TX. Approximately 40 people attended our hour-long session that explained both why such a program is needed, and how it works. We also perused the exhibit floor, making connections with manufacturers of products that would be applicable to projects utilizing the WERS program.
In September, Blissard co-presented with WERS Development Group member and designer Bob Kreger at the North American Passive House Conference in Chicago. They went through a case study of a double-zero (energy & water) design Kreger did for a client in New Mexico. The project utilized both Passive House and WERS to help achieve its double-zero requirements. (The home was to be built in a location without access to a potable water supply.) Approximately 35-40 people attended the Friday session, and many came up afterward to express their interest in the WERS program.
October took Collignon to Denver for the EEBA Conference, where he co-presented with WERS Development Group member Amanda Hatherly of Santa Fe Community College. Once again, there were 40 people in attendance. This trip, however, resulted in more than just the opportunity to speak to an audience. Connections were made with a couple of potential WERS trainers. Also, thanks to Coalition Member Margaret Griffes, Collignon was able to join the local USGBC chapter for their evening meeting and discuss the WERS program.
We would be remiss if we didn’t recognize the efforts of other WERS Development Group members. In November, Doug Pushard of Harvest H20 made two presentations on behalf of the WERS program. He spoke to over 100 session attendees at the ARCSA Conference in Long Beach, CA and 25 attendees at the AWRA Annual Conference in Denver. Darren Port of NEEP presented to a crowd of 25 at the ABX 2015 Conference in Boston. Port will be making another presentation at the AWWA’s Sustainable Water Management Conference in Providence, RI on March 8, 2016. We’ll have more information on that session as it draws nearer.
Industry conferences and trade shows will be plentiful over the next 4 months. For a listing of upcoming industry events, please visit Green Builder® Media’s Interactive Calendar of Events.
In addition to the information shared above, we have two other items of note:
Earlier this month, we welcomed our 19th pilot licensee. We have been very thankful for the feedback from all our pilot licensees throughout the United States. Our first pilot phase will be drawing to a close with the launch of the WERS program, but we envision starting a pilot phase for version 2 of the WERS program sometime in mid-to-late 2016.
We will be holding a series of webinars to familiarize people with the WERS program. The schedule is as follows:
Tuesday, December 1st – 12:00pm CT
Wednesday, December 9th – 1:00pm CT
Tuesday, December 15th – 12:00pm CT
If you would like to attend a webinar, please send an e-mail to email@example.com with your date preference. There are a limited number of spots available, so don’t delay!
Each issue, we’ll sit down with a green building professional to gain a personal insight into their motivations, inspirations and experiences. This issue, we feature Stan Clark, consultant and entrepreneur.
The Torch: What motivated you to enter the sustainability industry?
Stan Clark: I started building with ICFs in the mid-1990s. I wanted to separate my company from the competition by energy efficient building practices.
TT: Describe your first green project. Did you encounter any hurdles on that first project? (If yes, how did you overcome them?)
SC: My first ICF house. We had a hard time convincing our HVAC contractor to do the heat load calcs and not just guess like they did in that time period. We also had to push him to install a HRV and guide him on how to do it and where to pipe the ductwork.
TT: What building product or technique do you think will be the next “game changer”?
SC: Green building and energy efficiency practices are really catching on and will continue to gain momentum. New products will be coming along to help the industry cope with the demand the homeowners will be requiring.
TT: Who inspires you the most?
SC: My Dad before he passed away. His ethics and practices are still with me.
TT: If you had it to do over again, what profession would you choose?
SC: I would get in the energy efficiency industry first thing, but being in the construction industry gave me a lot of background to deal with problems our builders run into.
TT: What do you enjoy the most when you’re not at work?
SC: Being with family, kids and grandkids. I also enjoy the aviation industry and flying the 4-seat general aviation airplane my partners and I own.
TT: What’s the most important piece of advice you’d like to pass along to others?
SC: We should all be aware of the fragile environment we live in and watch how we use it so there is something left for other generations after we are gone.
Below you will find job postings for green collar jobs around the country.
If you have a job opening you’d like to list here, please contact the Green Builder® Coalition at firstname.lastname@example.org.
CLEAResult is currently hiring energy-efficiency engineers, consultants, analysts and coordinators. Candidates should have experience conducting energy audits, identifying energy-efficiency opportunities, using energy-modeling tools, performing energy-savings calculations, and/or developing measurement & verification (M&V) plans. P.E. and/or C.E.M. certification is preferred but not required, and some positions won’t need such credentials. To view their 162 job listings throughout the United States and Canada, please click here.
CLEAResult is an energy-optimization firm that designs, develops and implements energy-efficiency programs on behalf of utility companies across the country. Their programs are designed to help utilities manage load growth and meet legislative requirements by identifying energy-savings opportunities and implementing energy-efficiency improvements.
If you are interested in any of the above job openings, please contact:
Southern Energy Management (SEM), the Southeast’s leading provider of sustainable energy solutions, is looking to fill four full-time positions, with one each in North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and Tennessee. To learn more about their job openings, please click here.
The Institute for Market Transformation is a Washington, DC-based nonprofit organization promoting energy efficiency, green building, and environmental protection in the United States and abroad. The prevailing focus of IMT’s work is energy efficiency in buildings. Their activities include technical and market research, policy and program development, and promotion of best practices and knowledge exchange. All their work involves many collaborators and targets a broad range of stakeholders in both the public and private sectors.
They currently have three positions open, though one is a Fellowship that only lasts six months. For more information on all three openings, please click here.
The Alliance to Save Energy is a non-profit coalition of business, government, environmental and consumer leaders that promotes energy efficiency worldwide to achieve a healthier economy, a cleaner environment and greater energy security. Located in Washington, DC, they currently have two job openings. For more information on these positions, please click here.
The American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) is a leading national nonprofit research organization based in Washington, D.C. They currently have four open positions, though two of them are paid internships. For information on the internships and full-time positions, please click here.
The Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (MEEA) is a regional non-profit organization based in Chicago with a mission to advance energy efficiency in the Midwest to support sustainable economic development and environmental preservation. MEEA is committed to be a collective voice for energy efficiency at a national, regional and state levels; act as a clearinghouse to identify, evaluate and create successful programs and market assessments for the region; and foster communication on effective energy policy. They have two job openings, though one is an internship. To review their available positions, please click here.
MEEA is an equal opportunity employer.
Any listing above does not constitute an endorsement by the Green Builder® Coalition. We do not have any professional or financial stake in the preceding information. Rather, we provide this solely for the benefit of those seeking employment.
Train of Thought
The Torch to Change Format
This will be our last issue… in long format. (Though I’m sure there are a few out there that wouldn’t mind seeing us go away. Sorry to disappoint.) We are going to change our format from what it was originally intended (bi-monthly) to a shorter, more frequent distribution. You will still see the same features from us (Activities, Appearances, Upcoming Events, Job Openings, Member Spotlight, Train of Thought, etc.), but they won’t all arrive in one large bundle.
The reason for this switch is twofold. First and foremost, you will be receiving a series of upcoming announcements around the launch of the WERS program, starting with the top story of this very issue. We have a number of articles to release over the course of the next 2 months, and while they won’t come out weekly (due to the holidays), you can expect to receive at least 6, and probably more, in that timespan. The other reason we are switching formats is that we want to increase our exposure and brand recognition. Readers have come to know us for our information, and you’ll still receive a variety of interesting and helpful items from us. However, we want to connect with our audience more than 6 times a year. As you’ve probably noticed, it’s been way too long since our last issue.
Believe me when I say we did not become temporary hermits over the past 9 months. On the contrary, our dedicated work on the WERS program development has had us meeting with a number of people who quickly went from strangers to colleagues. You can see from the articles above, we’ve been hard at work. But since there’s only so much time in a day, our newsletter, and its readers, has been the victim of the time squeeze. For that, I apologize, and my attempt to remedy that is through a format change.
I hope you enjoy the new format, and that it helps you feel more connected to The Coalition. In a world where there are many demands on our time, the shorter format might make our content more… digestable. While I am a fan of epics (both musically and in cinema), I recognize that doesn’t appeal to everyone.
Let me know your thoughts on the change, and we’ll talk again soon.
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