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Updated National Green Building Standard debuts at International Builders' Show

Builders, remodelers, product manufacturers and other industry professionals got their first deep dive into a brand-new edition of the ICC 700 National Green Building Standard (NGBS) during “Green Day” at the International Builders’ Show in Las Vegas last month.

First published in 2009, NGBS forms the basis of many local and national programs and allows builders to certify new homes and remodeling projects that meet established criteria in energy efficiency, water and resource conservation, indoor air quality, lot and site development and home owner education. The updated edition–the only green building rating system for residential construction approved by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI)–raises the bar for energy-efficiency requirements and revolutionizes the treatment of renovations and remodeling projects.

Convention-goers got a detailed briefing on the updated NGBS, which was approved in January, at a special session on the exhibit floor. “The new edition of the standard brings a minimum 15% increase in energy efficiency,” said Dominic Sims, chief operating officer of the International Code Council, which partnered with the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) on its development. “Consumers understand that this level of improvement will deliver real savings over time.”

Changes include referencing the 2009 International Energy Conservation Code (the earlier edition referenced the 2006 code) as the baseline to exceed in energy efficiency, completely revised and expanded criteria for remodeling that makes it possible to certify kitchen, bathroom and basement renovations and additions under 400 feet, and incentives for choosing lots in green communities.

“Green is good,” said NAHB chairman Barry Rutenberg, a home builder from Gainesville, Fla. “The updated standard incorporates advances in technology, building methods and materials, and it responds to consumer demand for more energy- and resource-efficient homes.”

“This standard is all about quality and performance,” said Matt Belcher, a longtime green home builder from Wildwood, Mo., who has constructed homes to the NGBS. “Every builder I know wants to build the best product they can, and all the home buyers I’ve met want to own a high performance home.”

Builders and developers can certify their projects to the National Green Building Standard by using the National Green Building Certification Program offered by the NAHB Research Center (nahbrc.org), itself an ANSI-accredited laboratory. Purchase an online or print version of the 2012 NGBS at BuilderBooks.com, and find more information about green homes at nahb.org/nahbgreen.