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NGBS Land Development certification covers design and development of residential green communities.

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Cindy Wasser
April 15, 2014

Reasons to Select NGBS Land Development Certification over LEED ND

Also see 6 Reasons to Choose NGBS over LEED post from June 2013.

While LEED® for Neighborhood Development™ (LEED-ND) continues to hold greater name recognition, a lesser-known certification option of the National Green Building Standard (NGBS) is the Green Land Development certification. This green rating system covers the design, planning, and development of residential and mixed-use green communities. Since 2009, Home Innovation Research Labs has certified 22 land developments, representing over 1,500 lots, with nine communities currently in progress, representing 21,382 lots!

Although similar to LEED-ND, NGBS Land Development certification's core philosophy differs. Whereas LEED-ND can only be achieved in dense urban cores, the NGBS Green Land Development certification is designed to have wide application for all types of communities—urban, suburban, and rural. An additional distinction is the NGBS focus beyond site selection and design to successful implementation of green practices during the development work.

If you're considering green certification for your community, here’s a quick primer on why to choose NGBS.

  • No Density Threshold—NGBS Land Development certification is achievable within all development types
    The NGBS ANSI Consensus Committee was committed to developing a rigorous rating system that could be utilized by builders and developers for all construction and community types. They recognized that development would occur in a diversity of communities—from the urban core to inner suburbs to rural towns. All new development, regardless of location, would benefit from the incorporation of green practices to reduce environmental impacts.

    Unlike LEED, the NGBS Land Development requirements do not stipulate a density-threshold for land development certification. Whether you are planning rural, suburban, urban, or mixed-use communities, the NGBS is the right “tool” for the job. Also, there are no restrictions on community size. Home Innovation has certified rural and suburban communities throughout the U.S., ranging in size from seven to nearly 500 lots.
  • Completely Independent from Home/Building Certification—homes can be built to any green certification
    Homes within an NGBS Green Certified Land Development are not required to be green certified to any rating system. This is unlike LEED-ND, which requires at least one home/building within a community to be LEED-certified. While we believe seeking NGBS Green certification for the homes provides tangible benefits for both builder and homebuyer, the NGBS recognizes that the developer may not have influence over home design and construction. The NGBS allows home builders the flexibility to choose the green rating system that is best for their company and project.
  • The Only Consensus Standard Rigorous Enough for ANSI Approval
    The NGBS offers four levels of certification for land developments: One-Star to Four-Stars. To move up in certification level, an NGBS Land Development must meet set point-minimums with practices from Lot Selection, Project Team, Lot Design, Lot Construction, and Innovative Practices sections, with a big focus on implementation. By comparison, LEED-ND practices place greater weight on site selection.
     
    Because it was developed with full input and review from numerous building science experts nationwide, the NGBS is the only ANSI-approved residential green rating system available at this time. NGBS certification through Home Innovation continues to lead the home building industry in its affordability, rigorous performance criteria, and flexibility to fit all construction types and market needs.
  • Affordable Certification Fees!
    Home Innovation has built a business on the idea that a green certification program can be good, fast, and affordable. Fees range between $1,000 and $6,250, with NAHB members enjoying a discount.
  • Flexible Options for Plan Approval and Full Certification
    A local jurisdiction may require a letter of approval (indicating a community's eligibility for certification once it is built as planned) and/or final certification. Home Innovation's got you covered for both, from plan review through site inspection.

Housing performance made great gains in the past decade. Building science improved, as well as energy, water, and resource efficiency, and indoor air quality. The NGBS Land Development rating system can beget similar environmental improvements in the way we plan, design, and develop the communities of the future.

Are you considering NGBS Land Development certification? Contact me to see how I can help!

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