National Green Building Standard (NGBS)
This standard arises from collaboration between the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and the International Code Council (ICC) in the United States to establish a nationally recognized standard definition of green building for homes. It is a points-based system with four levels of recognition: Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Emerald.
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The project team uses a spreadsheet to record project information, and the relevant number of points are calculated within the spreadsheet. The spreadsheet is relatively simple to fill out, but it is lengthy (with 37 different pages and hundreds of entry points). The guideblog shows how many points each entry in the spreadsheet is worth, but there are no indicators for total available points. Having been built by a code agency, the language is dense and refers to numerous outside standards and codes. As it based on the International Residential Code, those practitioners familiar with the code’s numbering system will find it much easier to use than newcomers.
The system has had a relatively high uptake; over 90,000 single-family dwellings have been certified since the program inception in 2009. Only a small fraction of those homes have been certified at the gold or emerald level, however.
Though projects outside the United States can use the spreadsheet and guideblog, certification is only available within the United States.
The guideline materials and spreadsheet for the NGBS are available for free. Project teams must register, work with a certified rater, and pay a fee to qualify for certification.