What is Green Building?
Green building means incorporating environmental considerations and resource efficiency into every step of the home building and land development process to minimize environmental impact. It’s a practical response to a variety of issues that affect all of us – like increasing energy prices, waning water resources, and changing weather patterns. It means making intentional decisions about:
- Energy efficiency improvements such as high levels of insulation, efficient HVAC systems, high-performance windows and energy-efficient appliances and lighting
- Water conservation measures such as water-efficient appliances and fixtures, filtration systems, and drought resistant or low-maintenance landscaping
- Resource conservation using materials and techniques such as engineered wood and wood alternatives, recycled building materials, sustainably harvested lumber, and more durable products
- Indoor environmental quality considerations such as effective HVAC equipment, formaldehyde-free finishes, low-allergen materials, and products with minimum off-gassing or low volatile organic compounds (VOCs)
- Site design planning such as minimizing disruption and preserving open space
- Homeowner education through manuals and operating guides
- Green business practices that adopt ideas from other industries for saving resources and money in the home office
With the 2009 ANSI approval of the ICC 700 National Green Building Standard, builders, remodelers, and home buyers now have a clear definition of green residential construction and a credible certification to that standard by a qualified third party.
The NGBS Green Certified program issues National Green Building Certification to all types of residential construction – new or remodeled single-family homes, new or remodeled multifamily buildings, and residential land developments – that meet the criteria of the ICC 700 National Green Building Standard™. There are four green certification levels for homes available in the Standard – Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Emerald. Land Developments can earn One, Two, Three, or Four Stars.
The National Green Building Standard establishes design and construction practices for residential projects, including:
- New single-family homes — Includes detached single-family homes, townhomes, duplexes, tri-plexes, and quad-plexes
- New multifamily residential buildings
- The residential portion of mixed-use buildings
- Additions to single-family homes that equal less than 75% of existing square footage
- Renovations of single-family or multifamily buildings
- Renovations plus additions to single-family homes
- Renovations of pre-1980 residential buildings
- Renovations that change the use of non-residential buildings into residential uses.Building conversions can be certified using the Green Building Path but not the Green Remodel Path
- Individual sections or phases of residential or mixed-use developments
- Entire residential or mixed-use land developments and subdivisions
Green certified homes incorporate green practices in six categories:
- Lot & Site Development
- Resource Efficiency
- Energy Efficiency
- Water Efficiency
- Indoor Environmental Quality
- Homeowner Education
How to Get a Project Green Certified
Looking to score a project to be Green Certified? Your first stop should be the Home Innovations Research Labs. Be sure to look for Green Approved Products that are pre-approved for points toward certification. Next you will need to find an accredited verifier. Finally, let consumers know all you’re doing to create green homes – take full advantage of the marketing materials available for our program partners.