National Green Building Standard™ Approved

The National Green Building Standard™ for all residential construction work including single-family homes, apartments and condos, land development and remodeling and renovation was approved Jan. 29, 2009 by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). The National Green Building Standard™, otherwise known as the ICC/NAHB 700, is the most important and comprehensive green-construction rating system for residential builders ever proposed. Additionally, as the first green building rating system to be approved by ANSI, the Standard has become the benchmark for residential green construction.

Founded in 1918, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) is the leading authority for private sector voluntary standardization systems in the United States. The Institute oversees the creation and use of thousands of norms and guidelines that directly impact businesses, including the widely recognized ISO 9000 management system.

The International Code Council (ICC) and National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) developed the Standard with broad input from several thousand stakeholders, ranging from code officials and other building professionals to the entire spectrum of the green building community. This new standard provides a practical route to green, sustainable and high-performance construction, especially in communities with little if any green/sustainable buildings or guidelines to build green. The Standard also promotes homeowner education for the maintenance and operation of green residential buildings in order to ensure long-term benefits.

The International Code Council, a membership association dedicated to building safety and fire prevention, develops the codes used to construct residential and commercial buildings, including homes and schools. Most U.S. cities, counties and states choose the International Codes, building safety codes developed by the International Code Council.

The NAHB Research Center, which administers the national verification and certification program for green homes through the NAHB National Green Building Program, can now offer certification for residential projects to the new Standard.

The Standard’s rating system allows builders, designers and communities to choose the levels of high-performance green building that best suit their needs. Key provisions include:
• Land conservation
• Rainwater collection
• Construction of smaller homes to conserve resources
• Energy performance starting at 15% above the baseline requirements of the 2006 International Energy Conservation Code
• The use of low VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) materials and detached garages or carports to improve indoor environmental quality
• Homeowner education on proper maintenance and operation to maintain its green status throughout its life cycle
The National Green Building Standard™  also provides for flexibility – allowing home builders and home buyers to make green choices based on climate and geography as well as style preferences and budget.
International Code Council CEO Richard P. Weiland states, “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. The application of ICC-700 can contribute to greater energy, water and resource efficiency along with reduced long-term costs to consumers and to our planet.”

The International Code Council has also developed the Sustainable Attributes Verification and Evaluation (SAVE) program to provide independent confirmation that evaluated building products are sustainable and may qualify for points under ICC-700. A SAVE evaluation involves both inspection of the manufacturer’s production process and reviews of independent product testing. 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 the National Green Building Standard™.

In a recent study by the NAHB Research Center, builders indicated a shift in emphasis since the beginning of the downturn in 2006 to green home building and energy efficiency. Increasing home energy efficiency was selected as the highest-ranking change in builder offerings since the downturn. Additionally, 30 percent of builders surveyed planned to have a green building program soon.

The changing industry picture offers opportunities. Builders and suppliers of building products who adapt to the new environment stand to gain the most when the industry rebounds.

Scott Allred is chairman of the Triad Green Building Council and the owner of Precept Construction. He can be reached at scott@preceptconstruction.com or 286-6811. For additional resources on green building, visit www.preceptconstruction.com.
The Triad Green Building Council serves members of the Greensboro, High Point, Winston-Salem and Burlington Home Builders Associations that are interested in learning more about green building techniques, products and services.

The council meets monthly with an educational program as the primary focus. Additional seminars and workshops are offered throughout the year for industry professionals and consumers. To find out more about the Triad Green Building Council, contact the Greensboro Builders Association at 855-6255.



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