The Basics on the Best: NGBS Green Certification
NGBS Green Certification, National Green Building Standard Certification provided by Home Innovation Research Labs, has been available and growing since early 2009. This past spring, the program celebrated its 50,000th NGBS Green Certified home and it has the largest market share of all the green certifications within the residential industry. Despite going from a start-up to #1 over the last six years, many in the industry are still unfamiliar with the NGBS Green program. Even those who are familiar with the program may not know it applies to multifamily buildings as well as new and remodeled single-family homes. Below is a quick overview of the program and its marketing benefits.
Ensuring Homes meet the Highest Green Standard
Home Innovation certifies homes to the rigorous requirements of the ICC 700 National Green Building Standard™ (NGBS) – the only residential green building rating system approved by ANSI as an American National Standard. The NGBS provides practices for the design and construction of all types of green residential buildings, renovations, and land developments. This certification goes well beyond energy efficiency; it provides independent verification that a home, apartment building, or land development is designed and built to achieve high performance in six key areas: Site Design, Resource Efficiency, Water Efficiency, Energy Efficiency, Indoor Environmental Quality, and Building Operation & Maintenance.
This stringent third-party-verified certification program ensures homes and apartments are built in compliance with the NGBS. All NGBS Green Homes meet at least the baseline/Bronze certification level, but some go the extra “green mile” to attain Silver, Gold, or even the highest Emerald level certification. NGBS Green is the only national program that actually requires higher point totals in all six of the standard’s categories of green; not merely a higher overall project point total. So, for example, a home or apartment building that achieves Gold-level points in five categories but only Bronze-level points in Resource Efficiency, can only achieve a Bronze certification for the entire project. Yep – we’re that tough! This ensures residents in NGBS Green Certified homes aren’t living in just highly energy-efficient homes, but truly green homes.
NGBS Green focuses on three primary attributes, all highly marketable to today’s discerning consumers:
- Providing fresh air ventilation that improves indoor air quality
- Limiting pollutants and contaminants in the home
- Preventing moisture problems that can contribute to mold and attract pests
Lower Operating Costs
- Reducing utility costs through cost-effective energy and water efficiency practices
- Controlling maintenance costs through durable construction and product selection
- Providing technical and educational resources to ensure the home’s optimum performance
- Promoting walkability
- Reducing home maintenance through enhanced durability
- Preserving natural resources through responsible land development practices
Meeting NGBS Requirements is Just the Beginning
The mandatory practices in the NGBS merely set a national baseline for homes and apartments that are efficient, durable, high-performing, and healthier. But NGBS Green Certified homes all rise substantially above that minimum baseline. Bronze level NGBS Green Certified homes must also incorporate a sufficient number of additional practices in each of the six green building categories to earn 231 points via third-party inspection. A Gold certified home needs 509 points. The specific practices incorporated are likely to reflect location, climate, market preferences, and budget realities, but the NGBS demystifies the process for consumers by requiring owner education and a definitive list of the home’s green building features and how to maintain them.
Home Innovation’s green home certification process mandates a minimum of two inspections for each NGBS Green Certified home by a trained independent, third-party verifier. All builders in the NGBS Green Certification program aim to build high-performance, sustainable homes. But because of the quirky, variable nature of the construction process we Home Innovation can’t just take a builder’s word for it. We check … and double-check. In-person assessments provide visual assurance that what a builder says he’s going to do is actually what gets done, and that it gets done correctly. Only when we are fully satisfied can a home earn the NGBS Green Certification mark.
Getting the Credit (and Appraisal) You Deserve
And it’s fine for the residents to get what they want out of their green homes, but what about the building owners and managers? NGBS Green Certification definitely has their needs in mind too.
Bob Sahadi, Director of Energy-Efficient Finance for the Institute for Market Transformation, recently provided a blog post for Home Innovation Insights focusing on the improving appraisal landscape for multifamily building owners/operators. He said the old excuse that the appraiser “just didn’t get it” when it comes to receiving a multifamily green appraisal, doesn’t have the validity today that it once did. It’s more a matter of owners not knowing how to properly seek an appraisal process that values green attributes. Sahadi discusses the existing gaps he’s seen in green multifamily building owners receiving appropriate appraisals that reflect their buildings’ inherent green benefits — lower operating expenses, faster absorption, lower vacancies, and even more favorable capitalization rates.
Hungry for More?
This is just a sample of the significance of the National Green Building Standard and Home Innovation’s NGBS Green Certification. Want more detail? Visit www.HomeInnovation.com/Green, or contact them directly by calling 800.638.8556, or www.HomeInnovation.com/NGBSGreenContact.