Home Innovation Insights

Time to reflect on where we’ve been & where we’re going with NGBS Green.

Michelle Foster
October 27, 2020

Seasons of Green

Two hundred fifty thousand NGBS Green Certified homes.

One hundred sixty-five thousand eight hundred seventy-one NGBS Green Registered homes.

That’s how you measure our commitment to better-built homes. Homes that have a smaller impact on our environment by using resources – such as land, energy, water, and construction materials – more efficiently. Homes that, because of their efficiency, are less polluting of our air, water, and land resources than code-minimum homes. Homes that provide the conditions for a healthier life, both inside and outside the home.

This month we celebrate another NGBS Green milestone with the certification of our 250,000th NGBS Green Home. When we started the NGBS Green certification program in 2009, our goal was to provide a national, credible, rigorous, and affordable green building certification for the residential construction industry. Until NGBS Green started, residential building certifications lagged significantly behind other building types. The places we lived – our homes, townhouses, multifamily buildings, housing for students and seniors, and assisted living facilities – were foregoing high-performance green building programs because they were too difficult and expensive to attain. We had the audacity to believe that needed to change – and understood the role we could play in helping our entire industry do better. Better for the environment. Better for climate change. Better for homebuyers and renters.

In 2009, we knew we needed to do more than help the industry design and build better homes, so we took several necessary steps…

This past year we have worked particularly fast and furious to help the industry build a better place to call home. The 2020 NGBS was released and it sets a higher performance baseline than the previous three NGBS versions. At the same time, the NGBS scope expanded so that more of the places where we live can use NGBS Green as their certification program of choice. NGBS Tropical Zone compliance is improved, which has allowed homes in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean to earn NGBS Green certification in a way that is more compatible to their building construction techniques and needs. A new Certified path is also now available for single family homes, townhouses, and duplexes. Mixed-use buildings – more sustainable simply by allowing residents to more easily access spaces for restaurants, grocery stores, and other neighborhood amenities - can earn NGBS Green certification for both the residential portion and the commercial/retail portion of the building. And we debuted our NGBS Green+ badges which provides additional opportunities for builders and developers to get recognized for exceptional performance in six specific categories.

The collective impact of these NGBS improvements is to help more buildings be built and certified to an even higher standard. With incentives ranging from preferred financing to enhanced marketing to higher property valuations, NGBS Green can help elevate the performance of the entire industry, regardless of price point or market.

A quarter million homes is certainly a milestone, but it’s not market transformation. According to NAHB, there were 6.8 million housing starts between 2009 and 2019. That means there were a lot of homes that could have been greener, healthier, and more efficient. We have 250,000 homes down – 6 million+ more to grow! Someone once told me not to bite off more than I could chew. I told them I'd rather choke on greatness than nibble on mediocrity.

What are your ideas as to how NGBS Green can help the industry build greener, more sustainable homes? Contact me – I’d love to hear your ideas and see if we can work together.

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