Home Innovation Research Labs is pleased to be named by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as the first Multifamily Review Organization (MRO) for high-rise, non-commercial projects seeking Energy Star certification. Under the new process, rather than submitting Energy Star project documentation to EPA, project teams will work directly with Home Innovation as an EPA-recognized organization for the review and approval of their submissions. Home Innovation staff will perform the review and approval of Energy Star documentation submissions by developers.
Being selected to serve in this role underscores Home Innovation’s expertise in specialties including multifamily buildings of all sizes, energy efficiency, and third-party practice, as well as the capacity of the program administration systems created to run its nation-leading NGBS Green certification program. Home Innovation will be able to capitalize on the significant infrastructure and building science expertise that has enabled the NGBS Green certification program to be delivered in a streamlined and cost-effective fashion, thus providing greater economy of scale.
Becoming an MRO also gives a significant boost to Home Innovation’s strategy of becoming a “one-stop-shop” for green and energy certifications for residential buildings. In this new role, developers who were not previously familiar with Home Innovation or NGBS Green will be introduced to more options as they seek Energy Star certification in response to local mandates, to achieve market differentiation, and/or to qualify for financing incentives. Fannie Mae and HUD, for example, both offer preferred financing for green certified properties and both NGBS Green and the Energy Star MFHR program are among the recognized programs. Many HUD programs also require, or at least, encourage Energy Star certification as a minimum for energy efficiency in new construction.
The MRO designation also provides a new business opportunity for Home Innovation’s accredited NGBS Green Verifiers, who will now be permitted to submit Energy Star documentation for developer clients – this was previously limited to only professional engineers and registered architects. This further positions NGBS Green Accredited Verifiers as a valuable member of any multifamily project team as they can provide expert assistance in helping a developer or building owner select the green or energy certification that will work best for a particular project. In addition, their expertise and comprehensive green building knowledge can make it even easier for multifamily buildings to be green by helping interested builders make the transition from energy-efficient apartments to buildings that also use less water, have improved indoor air quality, incorporate sustainable land development practices, and are more resource efficient.
Finally, this designation dovetails nicely with the provisions for energy efficiency compliance that are in the 2015 National Green Building Standard (NGBS). This version of the NGBS provides an alternative compliance path to Bronze and Silver certification for multifamily projects with Energy Star certification. Previous NGBS versions only recognized the Energy Star for Homes program; however, with the significant and steady increase of multifamily buildings seeking NGBS Green certification, the 2015 NGBS added a compliance path for energy efficiency to recognize multifamily buildings that qualified for Energy Star MFHR.
Home Innovation will begin offering MRO services in January. If you have any questions about Energy Star certification for multifamily buildings or NGBS Green Certification, contact Michelle Foster, Vice President for Innovation Services, at 800.638.8556, ext. 6205, or online.
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