For many people across America who live in locales suffering from drought, reducing water usage is of primary importance. Just as the Home Energy Rating System (HERS) focuses on helping builders construct the most energy-efficient homes possible, a new program can help builders increase water efficiency in their homes.
WERS, the Water Efficiency Rating Score, is a performance-based approach to water efficiency that takes into account both the indoor and (eventually) outdoor water usage of a home. According to Proudgreenhome.com, the Green Builder Coalition created water modeling software that generates a Water Efficiency Rating Score on a scale of zero to 100 with zero being the best.
The main focus is on water use that involves toilets, showers, lavatories, kitchen sinks, clothes washers, and “structural waste,” which is the water that is wasted before usable hot water arrives at the farthest hot water using fixture.
Using a score of zero to 100, the rating system allows consumers to easily assess which are the most water-efficient homes. It will also help drive innovation and best practices.
In the same way energy gained form solar panels can offset energy use in the HERS index, rainwater and graywater catchment are calculated into the WERS and, depending on the filtration methods, can be used to offset indoor water use and improve the overall score.
In order to achieve a WERS, the building team needs to send a completed program document to a qualified third-party verifier who then will check that the fixtures, appliances, and strategies have been installed or implemented as claimed. After being qualified, the document gets sent to the Green Builder Coalition for processing. Upon being issued, the certified document can then be used by the building team to apply for water conservation tax credits or incentives that require third-party verification.
The program is still in its fledgling stage and is taking steps to expand to the outdoor portion of the program and measure the outdoor water usage, as well.