Despite the best efforts of the Home Innovation green team, and volumes of information available to dispel the myth, some builders still believe that getting a home green certified is a difficult, costly, and time-consuming task. Perhaps one of the greatest proof points that NGBS Green Certification is none of these things is its market share – in a relatively short period of time, NGBS Green has gone from a start up to the leading green home certification provider in the country. Many NGBS Green Verifiers say the builders who participate in NGBS Green find it a more straightforward and affordable way to stand out from their competition.
Earlier this year, an expert panel of NGBS Green Verifiers shared their experiences with a builder audience anxious to hear the “real deal” on green home certification. The panel included Phil LaRocque, Kyle Abney, Kat Benner, Steve Armstrong, and Jamie Hager (pictured below, L to R).
NGBS Green Benefits for Builders
The panelists agreed NGBS Green certification equals higher quality construction, improved comfort for buyers, and market distinction for the builder.
Phil: “NGBS Green certification not only creates a strong brand position that can earn cash incentives for the builder, but its rigorous requirements also ensure that a home includes a balance of green practices.”
Steve: “NGBS Green certification helps the builder sell the home more quickly.”
NGBS Green Benefits for Homebuyers
Jamie: “An NGBS Green home is a better built house and is a better way to solve indoor air quality issues, which leads to a healthier home environment.”
Kat: “NGBS Green ensures high-quality construction because the required two mandatory site visits by the Verifier serve as quality control to confirm the home is built according to their plans and is NGBS compliant.”
Best of Both Worlds: Flexibility and Rigor
In designing an NGBS Green home, a builder has over 1,100 points to choose from. This offers greater design flexibility. At the same time, the NGBS is the most rigorous green home standard available because it requires builders to incorporate a minimum number of practices in every category. Independent third-party certification ensures that the homes are NGBS compliant.
Jamie: “Having options to choose from in each chapter is good for the market as the home ends up a better fit for the customer.”
Kat: “Options allow for a more flexible certification process. As a Verifier, we can help builders select the best practices for their project depending on their location, climate, and budget.”
Kyle: “When I work with a builder, there are many ‘low-hanging fruit’ practices I recommend which are cost-effective and not difficult to help the home earn the next certification level. Because each state has different building code requirements the green practice selections depend on the project’s location”.
Benefits of Working with an Accredited NGBS Green Verifier
NGBS Green Verifiers are qualified, trained, tested, and accredited to provide verification services to the NGBS.
Kat: “The NGBS Green Certification website lists accredited Verifiers by state and business location. I suggest calling two to three Verifiers from the list to compare and hire a Verifier that knows the local area.”
Kyle: “You should also aim for a verifier with experience in the type of project you are building. The verification process differs for single-family homes compared to multifamily projects, so you want to hire a Verifier with the right experience for your project.”
Phil: “A Verifier can also help a builder assemble a good team. A Verifier helps you during planning, design, construction, assists with required documents, and can recommend HVAC and insulation contractors.”
Jamie: “A Verifier normally consults with the builder early in the process to educate them on the certification process and verification requirements. A great way to get new builders started is with the NGBS Bronze Cookbook as it simplifies the certification process.”
Steve: “I start with a site visit to familiarize myself with their project.”
Phil: “I like to initially consult with my clients on stormwater management, landscaping designs, mechanical plans, HVAC systems, and review the importance of the Homeowner’s Manual.”
Ensuring a Smooth Verification Process
To earn NGBS Green certification, homes require two site visits by an accredited NGBS Green Verifier. The Verifier must visually inspect each home pre-drywall and again when construction is complete. Verifiers work closely with the site superintendent to schedule the first inspection right before the drywall contractor is scheduled for installation. If the builder is not ready for the site visit on the agreed upon date, it may delay certification and/or add cost. A common pitfall is installing features not in the original design without checking with the Verifier and determining if it could cause the home to not qualify for their desired certification level.
Phil: “Having good communication with you throughout the process and with all the stakeholders is key, such as conveying expectations to the project team, and explaining the importance of following the NGBS Green checklist.” Good communication between the builder and the verifier can eliminate verification issues.
If you’re new to NGBS Green, talking with an experienced NGBS Green Verifier in your market can be a great way to answer any questions, and dispel any fears you may have of the cost or requirements. You can do this, and your Verifier can help!
Be sure to check out what green-seeking consumers in your market are seeing by visiting listings in your state and/or city on NGBS.com. If you’re not already there, your competitors may be. Contact us to get started today.***