Green Builder Coalition

The Torch – December 9, 2021

The Torch Offical Publication of Green Builder Coalition


Deirdre Irwin Elected to Green Builder® Coalition Board 

Green Builder® Coalition Members have elected Deirdre Irwin to a 3-year term to the organization’s Board of Directors. Irwin joins Bill Lazar (a fellow Floridian) and Steve Onstad in providing Coalition staff with guidance and counsel. Drew Brandt remains in the Ex-Officio role.

Deirdre Irwin“I look forward to serving on the board of the Green Builder® Coalition,” Irwin said. “I think being a water resource professional, employed by the state government, I will bring a unique perspective to the group. My goal is to help them find the most achievable and affordable pathway to build more water efficient homes over time.”

Deirdre Irwin is the Water Conservation Coordinator for the St. Johns River Water Management District. With over 30 years of experience at the District, she has worked with the agency’s surface water regulatory program, water resource education program, certification program development and water supply planning. Her work as the Florida Water StarSM Coordinator and Water Conservation Coordinator involves administering the Florida Water Star program and assisting with training and outreach for the program. Deirdre works closely with District staff in the development of regional water supply plans and coordinates a utility water conservation group that meets quarterly.

“Deirdre brings a wealth of water efficiency knowledge to the Board,” said Executive Director Mike Collignon. “She has had success in starting and managing a water efficiency program, and we’re very excited to have her experience available as we expand WERS into new programs and locales.”

As Irwin steps onto the Board, Kim Shanahan’s term ends after 3 years. That ends his 2nd Board term. Shanahan has been a steadfast advocate for water efficient policies and integral to the genesis of the WERS Program. He helped shepherd the Water Rating Index (WRI) into the 2020 National Green Building Standard and pushed NAHB to adopt a policy position on water efficiency.

“Kim’s had a significant impact on the organization, and we will miss his leadership,” Collignon shared. “Thankfully, he still cares very deeply about our mission and we know he’s only a phone call away.”

Irwin’s Board term will expire in October 2024.

WERS Added as Compliance Option for Water Efficiency for Built Green Certification

Built Green, a Washington state residential green building program, operated by the Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties, made the strategic decision to add the Water Efficiency Rating Score (WERS)® as an alternative compliance path for their water efficiency requirements for single-family and multifamily properties.

Built Green logoEstablished in 1999, Built Green is a third-party verified holistic green home certification program focused on six different sustainability categories and rates homes using a star level system with increasing levels of performance. Water conservation is required for all projects through either performance-based or prescriptive approaches to achieve occupant water use reduction. WERS is now a performance-based option for 3-Star through 5-Star projects. To achieve compliance at the 3-Star level, a WERS of 70 or less must be achieved. The WERS threshold drops to 60 or less for a 4-star property, and 50 or less for a project seeking 5-star level certification.

“Water, even in the Pacific Northwest, is becoming a resource we can no longer afford to waste. We are beginning a process to move towards more performance-based methods of measuring water efficiency and conservation,” said Sonja O’Claire, Built Green Program Manager. “We appreciated that WERS was scalable to different sizes and types of buildings, modeled total water use [indoor and outdoor] of a building, and included greywater and rainwater reuse.

WERS logo“Built Green is a very comprehensive green building program that just went through a major update,” said WERS Development Group Chair Mike Collignon. “They were looking for a performance-based water rating that met their standard of quality and rigor. WERS is a great choice, since it is also very thorough.”



Built Green is a holistic green home certification program of the Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties, established in partnership with King and Snohomish counties in 1999. In addition to certifying green homes, remodels, multifamily buildings, and communities, Built Green hosts a membership network of companies and individuals involved in the green building industry, conducts research, provides education, and markets the social and environmental benefits of green building. The program’s mission is to serve as the driving force for environmentally sound design, construction, and development practices in the state of Washington’s cities and communities. Since its inception, Built Green has certified over 21,000 buildings representing more than 40,000 housing units. The program has partnered with local governments and utilities to create green building incentive programs, which have helped spur uptake in the region.

The Water Efficiency Rating Score (WERS)® is a predictive, performance-based approach to residential water efficiency and water resource management. 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. For more information on the WERS Program, please visit

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