Home Innovation News

January 11, 2013 | Upper Marlboro, MD

ANSI Approves Consensus-Based ICC 700-2012 National Green Building Standard

New Standard Marks Significant Achievement, Expands Certification Options

Last night the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) notified Home Innovation Research Labs of its approval of the ICC 700-2012 National Green Building Standard (NGBS). Home Innovation Labs (formerly known as the NAHB Research Center) served as Secretariat for the standard development process that began in November 2010. ANSI will make the official public announcement of the NGBS approval in its January 18 issue of Standards Action.

In 2007, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and the International Code Council (ICC) partnered to fund the development of the first and only residential green building rating system to undergo the full consensus process and receive approval by ANSI as an American National Standard. Since being published in 2009, this is the first time the NGBS has undergone Consensus Committee review and update.

Shepherding a standard like this through the ANSI consensus process involves time, specific expertise, and thoroughness. As Secretariat for the NGBS, Home Innovation Labs was responsible for ensuring that all substantive and procedural aspects of the ANSI process were followed. This included ensuring that the voting members of the Consensus Committee represented a balanced set of stakeholders; that no one member or industry segment could exert undue influence over the process; that public input was sought and addressed; and that there was a thorough opportunity for appeal.

“While the ANSI process is exacting and sometimes tedious, our culture as an independent, third-party makes Home Innovation Labs ideally suited to the role of Secretariat,” according to Michael Luzier, Home Innovation Research Labs President and CEO. “It is specifically those exacting elements that create the opportunity for the best, most informed decisions to be reached. As Secretariat, our obligation to the decision-making process was not only to yield consensus, but to have the process culminate in the most thoughtful and comprehensive green building standard possible – ANSI’s approval of the 2012 NGBS validates that objective was met.”

There were 41 members of the 2012 NGBS Consensus Committee, which was chaired by Don Pratt of Auburn Hills, Mich., and vice chaired by Ray Tonjes of Austin, Texas. The committee represented those entities and interests that were directly affected by the provisions of the NGBS. In addition, a total of seven Task Groups were formed to reflect the specific areas of technical expertise the Consensus Committee needed as resources throughout the process. In total, close to 100 industry leaders and experts helped to shape the final version of the standard that was presented to ANSI.

“It was an honor for me to preside over this consensus process for the National Green Building Standard,” said Pratt. “And, while it may seem trite, it was truly a labor of love and dedication by all the members of the committee. Unless the men and women who served on the Consensus Committee and the Task Groups really cared about the promotion of legitimate green building in mainstream residential construction and development, their largely unsung but significant dedication to this process would have been absurd. I thank them all for their passion and professionalism.”

The Consensus Committee held three multi-day meetings during 2011 and 2012 to discuss and take formal actions first on proposed changes and then on public comments. All meetings were open to the public and provided an opportunity to testify before the Consensus Committee. All committee actions were also balloted through formal letter ballots. Overall, the Consensus Committee reviewed and acted upon over 800 proposed changes and public comments ranging from revisions to individual provisions to addition of entire chapters.

The 2012 NGBS builds upon the cumulative stakeholder experiences with the 2008 version, including perspectives on design, construction, certification, and operation of new and existing green single- and multifamily buildings and green residential land developments. In addition, the updates align the NGBS with building codes that have been adopted around the country since initial version was approved by ANSI.

Some of the most notable changes include:

  • The Energy Efficiency Chapter was substantially revised with the new rating levels based on whole-house energy savings above the 2009 IECC. The Bronze rating level (the minimum certification level for compliance with the NGBS) is set at 15 percent above the 2009 IECC, which was selected as the baseline realizing that the majority of the country is using the 2009 IECC or a derivative of it at this time. In any jurisdiction where the 2012 IECC code has been adopted, the 2012 NGBS Energy Chapter can be implemented at a higher rating level (i.e., Silver) or at the Bronze rating level with a primary focus on other green building attributes (e.g., land development, resource efficiency, water efficiency, indoor air quality, etc.).
  • The point assignments for Water Efficiency practices were reanalyzed to achieve an improved internal consistency regarding actual water savings. In addition to other revisions, the provisions for rainwater collection and distribution were expanded to encourage rainwater use for irrigation and indoor demand.
  • The remodeling provisions were significantly revised. The 2012 NGBS provides two options for remodelers interested in getting their green projects rated: (1) achieving a rating for an entire remodeled home to one of four levels of compliance; or (2) achieving minimum compliance for a remodeled functional area such as a kitchen, bathroom, basement, or addition. All renovation and addition notes were removed from the NGBS and the remodeling practices are now organized into two standalone chapters that address only remodeling, allowing greater ease-of-use for those doing green renovations and remodels.
  • The durability provisions were reorganized, expanded, and compiled into a single section as part of the Resource Efficiency Chapter (Ch. 6). Expanded durability provisions include flashing details and encourage architectural features and designs that minimize the potential for water intrusion.
  • Homes built in a green development get rewarded by accumulating related points under lot design. This practice encourages builders to obtain lots from green-developed communities and, in turn, stimulate green practices by large land developers. Selection of infill and low-slope lots are also awarded with points to encourage development in urban areas and away from high-slope sites.
  • The life cycle analysis practice was expanded and refined. The practice lists specific environmental impact measures for use in the assessment and establishes minimum improvement thresholds. Builders now can get credit for selecting environmentally preferable products or assemblies or a whole-house system based on performing an appropriate level LCA.
  • The implementation of green practices for multifamily buildings was clarified to include common areas.
  • Community gardens are encouraged as part of the development strategies to provide local food production options for residents or area consumers.

In addition to being Secretariat for the standard development process, Home Innovation Research Labs is also the adopting entity for offering national home and land certification to the NGBS. Home Innovation Labs currently requires a free registration process that allows builders to select from either the 2008 or 2012 version of the NGBS for the next three months. The registration process must be completed by an accredited green verifier. For information on how to have a project certified by Home Innovation Research Labs or to find an accredited verifier in your area, visit www.HomeInnovation.com/Green.

For more information on the process to create the ICC 700-2012 National Green Building Standard, visit www.HomeInnovation.com/NGBS.

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ABOUT: Home Innovation Research Labs, located in Upper Marlboro, Md., is a full-service research, testing, and consulting firm determined to improve the quality, durability, affordability, and environmental performance of single- and multifamily homes and home building products – in short, we aim to perfect the home. Founded in 1964 as a subsidiary of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), our team has been integral in solving many of our client’s most difficult product and technology issues, and helping to introduce some of the most groundbreaking innovations in residential construction. Through an interdisciplinary research approach – including market research, building science analysis, laboratory testing, and standards development – we help to find a home for innovation in the residential construction industry.

NOTE TO EDITORS ON STYLE USAGE: To identify this company and its work correctly, first reference should be "Home Innovation Research Labs." In subsequent mentions, "Home Innovation Labs” or simply “Home Innovation” are acceptable and accurate alternative references; we are not identified by an acronym. Prior to February 12, 2013, the company was known as the NAHB Research Center.