Unique Certification Options with National Green Building Standard™ (NGBS)

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If you’re unfamiliar with Home Innovation Research Labs’ National Green Building Standard™ (NGBS), the program is designed primarily to rate the performance of single-family homes or multifamily properties in six important categories: Site Design, Resource Efficiency, Water Efficiency, Energy Efficiency, Indoor Environmental Quality, and Building Operation & Maintenance. So how does NGBS differentiate itself from other green building rating systems? NGBS goes beyond the norm by offering certification paths for new land development and remodeling projects. Let’s take a closer look at these unique verification options.

Reinforcing a core benefit of NGBS certification, the land development option emphasizes flexibility and inclusiveness to accommodate a broad spectrum of applications. Regardless of size or location, all land is eligible for NGBS certification as long as it includes parcels marked for residential or mixed use construction. Four levels of green certification cover a range of performance targets, with a One-Star Development needing 79 points to qualify and a Four-Star Development needing a minimum of 175 points. Certification can take place incrementally for larger developments with longer build-out plans, or cumulatively when the project concludes and all NGBS green practices are incorporated into the development. While it’s possible for development projects to contribute points towards on-site NGBS building certification, land developments are scored independently from the residential and mixed-use structures they encompass.

Tailored to meet the needs of a renovation focused home buyer market, the NGBS Green Home Remodeling system offers builders and consumers an affordable process to green existing residences at the Bronze, Silver, Gold, or Emerald rating level. The rating system offers two unique options for certification, a whole-home remodel or a small-project remodel. To meet mandatory minimum performance standards for whole-home remodel, projects must demonstrate a 15% reduction in energy consumption and a 20% reduction in water consumption. Additionally, whole-home renovations require two inspections from NGBS qualified professionals to verify baseline expectations in the areas of Lot Design, Resource Efficiency, Indoor Environmental Quality, and Homeowner Education. Applicable to work on kitchens, bathrooms, basements, and additions (under 400 sq. ft.), the small project remodel requires a single inspection upon project completion. This option also works for larger multifamily buildings undertaking upgrades across a property or properties. An accredited NGBS Green Verifier will review projects for incorporation of green materials, sustainable product use, energy efficiency, and contribution to indoor environmental quality.

Encouraging innovation and growth of the rating system, Home Innovation Research Labs recently created a new designation to recognize green building professionals who have demonstrated advanced knowledge and extensive experience as National Green Building Standard™ (NGBS) Verifiers. Having certified over 1,470 units of multifamily space using the NGBS system, Steven Winter Associates’ Karla Butterfield is among the industry’s first to receive the title of NGBS Green Master Verifier™. Karla’s guidance assures project teams satisfy mandatory performance provisions outlined by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) approved green building rating system, along with identifying and implementing green practices in line with the project’s target NGBS certification level.

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