Home Innovation Insights

First Emerald-level green home certified to 2012 National Green Building Standard.

Cindy Wasser, MBA
August 22, 2013

First Emerald-Level 2012 NGBS Green Certified Home

To continue my mini-series on our 2012 National Green Building Standard firsts, here's some information on the first Emerald-level NGBS Green Certified project. Check out my previous post on the first single-family green home certified by Home Innovation Research Labs to the 2012 NGBS.

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 Emerald-Level Home

  • Location: Valparaiso, Indiana
  • Size: 1,840 sq. ft. suburban home
  • Certification Level: Emerald
  • Builder: Treasure Homes, Inc.
  • NGBS Green Verifier: Chris Schwarzkopf
  • Green Features: insulated concrete forms; touchless faucets; vinyl and PVC siding not requiring paint or stain; recycled-content and certified wood building materials; access to public transportation and existing community resources

This modest ranch-style home near Valparaiso was designed with a keen focus on the building envelope, the home’s outer “shell” that separates the interior from the exterior and facilitates climate control. “That’s where we start, with the basics," says Treasure Homes’ builder, Sarah Oudman. "It’s easier to invest in the building envelope up-front.”

For supreme efficiency, Treasure Homes insulated under the home’s concrete slab and utilized insulated concrete forms, a system of reinforced concrete, to frame the basement. Treasure Homes also utilized structural insulated panels for the above-grade walls. There was also an emphasis on air-sealing any penetrations to optimize efficiency.

The home was a pre-sale home, and the homebuyers were involved in the design decisions. Of the green features, the touch-less Delta faucets, which were installed in the kitchen and master bathroom, are particular homeowner favorites. While the faucets were installed for water conservation, one of the occupants, who happens to be a doctor, appreciates the faucets as a germ-reduction feature.

Low maintenance was also important to the homebuyers. The home’s exterior features CertainTeed vinyl siding and Azek PVC trim. According to the builder, the siding products do not require paint or stain, are easy to clean, and are long-lasting.

Transition to 2012

Having worked previously with the 2008 NGBS, Oudman found that the 2012 NGBS was more stringent. She advises, “Before getting started, go through the changes in the program. Take time to understand the new practices and their meaning.”

A large part of Oudman's learning curve was related to the transition to a new Excel-based scoring tool. In 2012, Home Innovation Research Labs retired the online scoring tool in favor of a more "portable" spreadsheet format -- all NGBS Green Scoring Spreadsheets are available online for download.

To see a photo of this recently NGBS Green Certified home, visit our Green Home Gallery (for this home, select state=Indiana and builder=Treasure Homes, Inc.).

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