A New Tool for Water Conservation

A New Tool for Water Conservation

The Green Builder Coalition has developed a new index for both indoor and outdoor water conservation.
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Multimedia from this Release

Green Builder Coalition Executive Director, Mike Collignon

WERS Module

Green Builder Coalition

Tuesday, March 3, 2015 - 7:00am

CAMPAIGN: Ethical and Sustainable Living

CONTENT: Article

When the Southwestern desert blooms, it is absolutely amazing. But this very rare occurrence only coincides with scarce rainfall—making water a commodity of immeasurable worth. Southwestern states have long recognized the need for conservation and have recently implemented many codes and programs than incentivize water-use reduction. But how best to quantify the conservation measures used, and then tie them to incentivizing tax credits? Finally, such a tool has been developed.

Several organizations have teamed up with the Green Builder® Coalition to create a Water Efficiency Rating Score, or WERS, that quantifies water use and generates a score similar to the HERS index used to rate energy use. The fledgling program just completed a pilot in New Mexico, and continues to develop under the tutelage of several industry stakeholders.

Taking a Cue from HERS

Many green homebuilding programs have no problem with pursuing measurable energy use reduction strategies. Some of them utilize what is called the HERS Index, generated by energy modeling software called REM/Rate. REM/Rate uses the input of exterior envelope construction, water heating and HVAC, along with some other measurable parameters, to calculate a “snapshot” of potential energy consumption of the home.

Conversely, on the water side of things, green homebuilding programs often attempt to reduce indoor water consumption through flow reduction, which usually only affects the installation of toilets, showers and lavatories. Only rarely do programs prescribe calculating outdoor water use and deriving an anticipated percent reduction. These strategies don’t result in an overall empirical measurement of water-use reduction.

But that's all about to change.

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CATEGORY: Environment