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First green small remodeling project certified to 2012 National Green Building Standard.

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Cindy Wasser
August 29, 2013

First Small Remodel Project Becomes 2012 NGBS Green Certified

To continue my mini-series on our 2012 National Green Building Standard firsts, here's some information on the first small/functional area remodeling project to become NGBS Green Certified. Check out my previous post on the first Emerald-level green home certified by Home Innovation Research Labs to the 2012 NGBS.

The 2012 NGBS was approved by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and released in January 2013. This was the first update since 2008, when the original National Green Building Standard was released. Home Innovation Research Labs served as Secretariat for the standard development process for both the 2008 and 2012 versions of the NGBS.

1st 2012 NGBS Green Certified Small/Functional Area Remodeling Project

  • Location: Glen Burnie, Maryland
  • Size: 729 sq. ft. finished basement
  • Certification Level: Certified (there are no certification levels for small remodeling projects)
  • Remodeler: T.W. Ellis, LLC 
  • NGBS Green Verifier: Keith Madigan 
  • Green Features: upgraded HVAC system with zoned heating; WaterSense fixtures; salvaged lumber; low-VOC paints; Energy Star lighting with CFL bulbs

New to the 2012 NGBS is the ability to certify individual functional areas of a home (kitchen, bathroom, basement, and additions under 400 sq. ft.) to the NGBS remodeling practices. Unlike certifications for new construction and whole-home remodels, this type of NGBS Green Certification does not offer tiered performance levels, only "Certified.”

Remodeler Tim Ellis was approached by an energy consultant who was looking to renovate his home’s basement and expand the livable space. Ellis recognized the homeowner’s interest in energy efficiency and sustainability and saw an opportunity to offer his client the newly-available NGBS Green Certified option for small projects like basements.

As a remodeler, Ellis says he recognizes that it is up to him to introduce NGBS Green Certification to his clients and explain how the NGBS Green Certified mark is an indicator of quality. “It’s not like you need to sell the ‘green’ kitchen or ‘green’ basement," he said. "I tell my clients, ‘Look—we’re already doing this work so we might as well maximize the value you're going to get out of it. NGBS Green Certification is not necessarily an additional line item or change in project scope. The certification verifies that we’re building to third-party recommendations to enhance homeowner comfort, water efficiency, indoor air quality, etc.” To the homeowner, Ellis says, the fact that the basement was designed and remodeled to an independent building standard was a “cherry on top."

Green Practices

For a small remodel project to be NGBS Green Certified, the project must meet a number of specific requirements related to material use; moisture control; building thermal envelope; and air sealing/insulation.

To get started, Ellis’ team fully insulated the basement’s exterior walls. The home’s HVAC system was replaced. When the new system was installed, Ellis’ team separated the home into two separate zones for heating and cooling for improved efficiency. A new bathroom was also built in the basement space, and the team used all low-flow and WaterSense products for water conservation. The redesign incorporated a new Energy Star window in the bathroom as well.

The homeowner sought a basement with unique spaces defined by multiple floor levels. To frame the floor and wall structures, Ellis utilized salvaged lumber that was saved when the homeowner deconstructed his deck in 2012. Not only was the redesign sustainable, but all waste building materials from this project were also recycled.

To see a photo of this recently NGBS Green Certified home, visit our Green Home Gallery (for this home, select state=Maryland and builder=T.W. Ellis, LLC).

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