National Green Building Standard Gains Momentum

February 9, 2009
Organizations

The National Green Building Standard, developed by the International Code Council and the National Association of Home Builders, has been approved by the American National Standards Institute. On February 5, ICC and NAHB representatives hosted a teleconference to discuss the implications of the new standard, and its goal of making green mainstream. 

Both organizations are also making further plans on the green building front.

“This is the first safe, sustainable, affordable green building solution,” said Dominic Sims, ICC COO. “The ANSI designation demonstrates to a third party that we went to great lengths to include a broad variety of stakeholders.”

“This has been a long time in the making,” said Bill Killmer, NAHB's group executive vice president for advocacy. “It’s not revolutionary, but evolutionary–home builders tend to be on the conservative side, and embrace change carefully.”

“We look at this as a true milestone and a benchmark,” added Don Ferrier, a home builder in Fort Worth, Texas. “This is a standard that lets us choose what is best for us and best for our clients.”

The new ICC 700 standard is designed to define green practices that can be incorporated into residential development and construction on a national scale. Key provisions include land conservation, rainwater collection, construction of smaller homes to conserve resources, energy performance starting at 15 percent above the baseline requirements of the 2006 International Energy Conservation Code, the use of low volatile organic compound materials and detached garages or carports to improve indoor environmental quality, and homeowner education on proper maintenance and operation to maintain its green status throughout its life cycle.

"The development of high performance ‘greener’ housing can have a tangible and positive impact on our environment and communities," said Richard P. Weiland, ICC CEO. "The development of high performance ‘greener’ housing can have a tangible and positive impact on our environment and communities. This new tool for state and local governments fills an important gap to provide a measurable framework for efforts to produce green and sustainable housing."

Green Product Assessments
Among the other green-related programs being rolled out at ICC is the Sustainable Attributes Verification and Evaluation (SAVE) program, offered to building product manufacturers by its subsidiary ICC Evaluation Service.  The new program provides independent confirmation that evaluated building products are sustainable and may qualify for points under ICC-700, as well as major green rating systems such as LEED or Green Globes.

A SAVE evaluation involves both inspection of the manufacturer’s production process and reviews of independent product testing, where required. Manufacturers that successfully complete the evaluation process receive a verification of attributes report in one or more of nine key categories. Design professionals will be able to use the reports as evidence that products or systems they select qualify for points under those programs.  ICC-ES has established a special section of its Web site that provides manufacturers with more information.

Green Home Certification
Following up on approval of the National Green Building Standard by ANSI, NAHB announced its NAHBGreen network almost tripled in size when NAHB welcomed 35 new state and local home builders associations and their green certification and education programs to its ranks.  The new affiliates include longstanding green building programs such as Build Green of King and Snohomish Counties in Washington, which has certified more than 13,000 homes since its founding in 1997, and new programs such as the green council formed by the Carbon Builders Association in Northeastern Pennsylvania, NAHB officials reported.

NAHBGreen continues to gain momentum across the U.S. as home builders incorporate more sustainable features in new homes in response to consumer demand, said Joe Robson, NAHB chairman and a home builder in Tulsa, Okla. “NAHBGreen provides home buyers with the assurance that their new home has been built to a national  benchmark for sustainable, environmentally-friendly construction with features that are also designed to save them money throughout the life of their home,” Robson said.  “I’m proud to welcome these state and local affiliates to this growing network.”

“By providing a nationally recognized third-party inspection and certification program, educational resources and industry recognition, NAHBGreen delivers value to our builders and their buyers,” Robson said.
 
“The standard provides home builders and remodelers with a much more expansive third-party rating system that they can use to achieve green certification under NAHBGreen and the National Green Building Certification Program,” said Mike Luzier, CEO of the NAHB Research Center.  The research center provides certification for NAHBGreen projects using the new standard.  
 
Green building is more dynamic and more responsive to consumers’ needs when it is voluntary, flexible and regionally appropriate, Robson pointed out.   “NAHBGreen is a market-driven program,” he explained. “Five of the top ten home features most frequently rated as ‘desirable or essential/must have’ in NAHB’s latest Consumer Preference Survey were energy-related. These included a high level of insulation, equipment-based energy saving measures, and Energy Star-rated windows, among others.”

The NAHBGreen network almost tripled in size when the National Association of Home Builders National Green Building Program welcomed 35 new state and local home builders associations and their green certification and education programs this week.

NAHBGreen continues to gain momentum across the U.S. as home builders incorporate more sustainable features in new homes in response to consumer demand, said Joe Robson, NAHB Chairman and a home builder in Tulsa, Okla.

“NAHBGreen provides home buyers with the assurance that their new home has been built to a national benchmark for sustainable, environmentally-friendly construction with features that are also designed to save them money throughout the life of their home,” Robson said. “I’m proud to welcome these state and local affiliates to this growing network.”

NAHB has a special Web site providing information on its green programs.  The National Green Building Standard is now available at the ICC Web site.