Home Innovation Insights

First single-family green home certified to 2012 National Green Building Standard.

Cindy Wasser, MBA
August 15, 2013

First 2012 NGBS Green Certified Single-Family Home

In July, two single-family homes and a remodeled basement became the first projects certified by Home Innovation Research Labs to the 2012 version of the ICC-700 National Green Building Standard™ (NGBS). Through this blog mini-series, I'll share the stories of the first builders and remodelers “through the gate” and highlight the high-performing features of their green homes.

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 Single-Family Home

  • Location: Narragansett, Rhode Island
  • Size: 2,220 sq. ft. oceanfront home
  • Certification Level: Silver
  • Builder: Caldwell & Johnson
  • NGBS Green Verifier: Robert Sherwood
  • Green Features: photovoltaic (PV) system; sustainable water management; low-VOC building materials

Builder Dave Caldwell designed this oceanfront vacation home to be a nearly net-zero home that “burns no fossil fuels.” The home captures renewable solar energy for electric energy through CertainTeed Apollo Photovoltaic roof shingles situated on the ocean-front side of the house. Hot water is supplied via the GE GeoSpring Hybrid Heat Pump water heater, a product that draws ambient heat from surrounding air to heat refrigerant. An electric Carrier heat pump system heats and cools the home. To maintain indoor air quality while retaining heat, air in the home is changed and circulated with an electric heat recovery ventilator.

Water conservation and management was critical for both Caldwell and his homebuyers, who said that they wanted “as environmentally responsible as possible for a waterfront property,” particularly since the property is designated as “critical resource” land. Water from low-flow EPA WaterSense® toilets and faucets goes to an on-site wastewater treatment system, which mechanically filters and cleans the wastewater. The home has little to no stormwater runoff, due to its sustainable landscape features, including terracing and use of native/low-maintenance vegetation.

On his transition from the 2008 to the 2012 NGBS, Caldwell said, “This project was a design-build project, that much like any custom home, had to juggle and accommodate many demands.” However, he said the transition from the 2008 to 2012 NGBS certification was “seamless” due to early, up-front collaboration between the homeowner, designer, and NGBS Green Verifier about the design features. Caldwell indicated that his green building success has been realized, in part, due to his strong working relationship with his verifier, Rob Sherwood, who helped guide him through the new practices.

While the NGBS practices were updated and, in some cases, made more stringent, Caldwell felt strongly that the practices were straightforward and were in large part already being executed by those who consider themselves green builders. “If you’re a good builder, you’re already accomplishing 90-95% of the 2012 practices,” he said.

To see a photo of this recently NGBS Green Certified home, visit our Green Home Gallery (for this home, select state=Rhode Island and builder= Caldwell and Johnson, Inc.).

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