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.
AGPOM’s Green Property Insider Newsletter
Take a look inside this month’s Green Property Insider for articles, course offerings and upcoming webinars all about Risk Management and Sustainability for property Owners and managers. We reported that BOMI is now offering a new LEED Credential Course focused on High-Performance Sustainability and industry expert Stephen Bushnell is offering a new course in Risk Management Sustainability.
Be sure to note upcoming webinars including Risk Management Center platform orientation and Measuring your Hotel’s Carbon Footprint with Hotel Carbon Measurement Initiative through Green Hotelier. Green Hotelier is also seeking award submissions for the best in Green Hotels Worldwide.
Lastly, but certainly not least, we are thrilled to feature one of our newest AGPOM Members, Hilton Tucson El Conquistador Tennis and Golf Resort! Click any of the links below to read more.
The efficacy of energy-efficiency solutions becomes increasingly clearer to the hospitality industry year after year. In fact, some of the most recognized hotel and resort brands are making increasingly more green decisions and taking the lead to implement best energy-efficiency practices throughout their properties.
There are many green measures a hotel property can implement – from LED lighting to intelligent energy controls and smart pumping systems and efficient water management. In this article, we’ll take a look at smart energy controls and the opportunities for cost savings in heating and ventilation.
The first thing hotel management needs to do is have an effective training program in place to educate the staff on best energy-efficiency practices. Changing staff behavior and attitudes is important in adopting energy efficiencies at a hotel property. Secondly, it’s important that any energy efficiency solution, such as smart HVAC controls, does not have a negative impact on the daily life of a busy hotel, either during installation or afterwards. There should be no adverse effect on guest satisfaction.
Equally important is that any proposed energy efficiency solution is based on sound business logic with a clear idea of timing for return on investment and a way to measure and monitor the solutions implemented. Hotel management should be able to measure accurately and understand current consumption rates, identifying immediate benefits and prioritizing investment decisions.
For example, many hotel properties focus on the HVAC in hotel rooms since guests spend so little time in them. In fact, some research indicates that hotel guest rooms are often empty for up to 46% of any 24-hour guest stay. With smart and effective guest room controls through a combination of sensors that detects whether a guest is in their room or not, the property can control the temperature of the room. When a guest is in the room, he or she must have control of the system, including the existing thermostat. When not in the room, the system can switch to a money-saving, energy-saving mode after a suitable period – usually 30 minutes.
To minimize disruption and loss of business, the smart controls need to be based on the best wireless technology that connect the micro sensors, as this avoids the need for complex cabling so ensuring that installation is very quick – equivalent to the room being cleaned – which means that rooms do not have to be taken out of service.
Any smart controls system should also be thoroughly tested first and would need to have the capability of monitoring accurately the property’s HVAC units, providing detailed a wealth of data and reports on energy usage and the cost savings garnered.
Fulcrum Insurance Programs is committed to helping the hospitality industry in their green efforts, supported by their partnership with AGPOM. Fulcrum offers key benefits to AGPOM Members, including insurance premium discounts. For more information, please feel free to call 425-453-5157 or visit www.fulcrumprograms.com.
AGPOM provides a Green Property Behavioral Plan specifically designed for hotels and resorts to help their staff see the benefits of green practices. For additional Green Hotel resources and articles check out AGPOM’s Resource Page.
We often write about the need to go green and sustainability for the various industries for which we write insurance, including for multi-family dwellings. There are many benefits to green buildings, including attracting and retaining tenants, the ability to get higher rents, receiving local financial incentives (such as tax credits), reducing maintenance costs and water and energy bills, among others.
This year, in fact, the New York State Energy Research Development Authority (NYSERDA) completed a study of more than 200 communities throughout the state, including 1,500 buildings and approximately 33,000 apartments, measuring the effectiveness of energy programs. The sample buildings included everything from high-rise apartments in New York City to converted historic mansions upstate. The NYSERDA wanted to see how much savings was realized from energy-reducing programs.
“We asked people to put together a customized work scope that’s going to reduce energy usage by 20% for most of the buildings,” said Lindsay Robbins, senior project manager, NYSERDA, according to an article in Multi-Housing News. “We look at energy bills one year post-construction and see if people actually got the savings they were expecting to achieve. “We’ve seen that 73% of the projects that have come through the program have hit [their] savings target. And for most projects, that was a 20% savings target. For some projects it was a 15% savings target.”
Diversity was key with varied cost-effective measures undertaken depending on the building. But there are also general measures all buildings should implement. This includes investing in improving the efficiency of a building’s heating system, which represents the lion’s share of the heating costs with energy for multi-family buildings. Also, other smaller measures may not yield high results but are a good start, such as changing the lighting in common areas to be energy-efficiency.
Smart water management is also key for multi-family dwellings. As we previously cited in our blog, according to the Irrigation Association, the average community is overwatering their grounds by about 30%. That’s a lot when you consider water scarcity and rising rates.
Fulcrum is a proud partner with the Association of Green Property Owners and Managers (AGPOM). Fulcrum provides clients with a customized industry-specific Green Property Behavioral Plan through AGPOM to help insureds with energy efficiency and other sustainable efforts. On AGPOM’s Green Resources pages You’ll find information for multi-family buildings on energy efficiency, water conservation, indoor air quality, site sustainability, and general business practices on office equipment use and helping residents go green.
Like AGPOM, Fulcrum recognizes a connection between risk and going green. As such, the “greener” an insured, the lower their premiums in Fulcrum’s Green Insurance Programs. For more information visit FulcrumPrograms.com.