In green housing development, the high-performance building is the goal. Marked by heightened energy and water efficiency, sustainable and environment-friendly development, the high-performance of green building comes at a price that pays for itself in the long run.
But the multifamily property sector has lagged in adoption of green building standards. Confusion over best practices in new construction as well as in remodeling existing properties has stalled implementations and budgeting. The multipliers presented by multifamily force developers to step carefully; shifting standards and the ever-changing technology picture make for uncertainty in green building generally.
The National Association of Home Builders publishes what some consider the bellwether guidelines in green building, remodeling and development. The NAHB’s ICC 700 National Green Building Standard undergoes regular update – two in the last two years – and stays on top of the changing picture in resource efficiency, durability standards, remodeling provisions, and best practices for energy savings.
2013 NAHB Green Bulding Standards Update Announced
At the Las Vegas 2013 International Builders Show, he National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) introduced its new edition of the ICC 700 National Green Building Standard. Significant changes to the treatments of renovations are in the standards, as are heightened energy-efficiency requirements:
“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 NAHB on its development. “Consumers understand that this level of improvement will deliver real savings over time.”
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 homeowner education. It is the only green building rating system for residential construction approved by the American National Standards Institute.
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 ft., and incentives for choosing lots in green communities.
“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.”