Home Innovation Insights

NGBS Green Certification Accepted by Local Jurisdictions

Cindy Wasser, MBA
November 21, 2022

NGBS Green Certification Accepted by Local Jurisdictions – Examples from Chicago (IL), Delray Beach (FL), and Portland (OR)

NGBS Green Certification is widely accepted by federal, state, and local financing and regulatory agencies as either a mandatory requirement for code compliance or voluntary option for achievement of process, financial, and developmental incentives.

The NGBS is a credible, consensus-based standard designed to set a meaningful definition of sustainable construction for all residential buildings in all locations across the U.S.

Acceptance of third-party green certification for state and local compliance presents a win-win for both residential developers and local jurisdictions.

  • Green building rating systems like the NGBS offer flexibility and choice in meeting design and construction requirements. This flexibility typically results in lower cost of compliance.
  • Third-party green building certifications offer consistency with federal financing programs and compliance requirements in other jurisdictions where developers may build.
  • Developers are supported with training, technical support, and marketing resources from the green building programs.
  • Third-party green building offers developer myriad benefits, including increased valuation, qualification for preferred financing, and enhanced marketing.
  • State and local agencies can trust the robust third-party oversight offered by credible green building programs, as they require extensive verification and testing by independent third-party professionals. The extensive nature of green building verification means that local jurisdictions can scale back their own inspection scope, reducing the administrative cost of implementing a new building code.

As the race toward decarbonization ramps up, jurisdictions are increasingly accepting third-party green building certifications as tools to meet their aggressive climate and energy efficiency targets.

Recently, three notable cities adopted building requirements that include the NGBS. We commend these locations for including third-party green building programs and specifically recognizing NGBS Green Certification as an option for residential development.

Chicago, Ill.
Chicago, Ill. The City of Chicago adopted the Chicago Energy Transformation Code, an amended version of the 2021 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) that requires stringent energy efficiency and electrification for new buildings. The goal of this new code is to align commercial real estate with Chicago’s climate action plan, which aims to reduce carbon emissions to 62% below 2017 levels by 2040.

The amended code recognizes 2020 NGBS Green Certification at the Gold and Emerald levels and 2021 Passive House Institute U.S. (PHIUS) certification as named alternative compliance pathways. The City noted that these certifications were selected for their rigorous pre-construction reviews and post-construction verification by independent third-party reviewers. Learn more here.


NGBS Green Certification Accepted by Local Jurisdictions – Delray Beach, Fl. Delray Beach, Fl.
The City of Delray Beach adopted a Green Building Ordinance for its central business district that includes NGBS Green, Florida Green Building Coalition, (FGBC), Green Globes, and LEED certifications. New buildings >15,000 sq. ft. must earn NGBS Green Bronze-level certification or equivalent. New buildings <50,000 sq. ft. must earn NGBS Green Silver-level certification or equivalent.

The new ordinance is a positive change for residential development planned for Delray Beach. The City previously had a more limited green building policy that recognized a single commercial building rating system. By including NGBS Green among the recognized options, residential developers have a pathway that is uniquely suited for residential construction and is flexible and cost effective to implement. Learn more here.


Portland, Ore.
NGBS Green Certification Accepted by Local Jurisdictions – Portland, Ore. The City of Portland committed to reviewing the NGBS Green Certification for addition to an existing Affordable Housing Green Building Policy that currently requires funded new construction projects to meet Earth Advantage (a local program serving the Northwest), Enterprise Green Communities, or LEED. This evaluation was prompted by NGBS Green Verifiers who advocated for the NGBS to be added as a fourth option. In their conversations with City staff, they cited the position of NGBS Green as a widely-accepted green building program and their desire for developers to have choice among credible and rigorous green building programs.

NGBS Green Certification is anticipated to be included within Portland’s 2023 Policy update.

Working in these areas? Offer training on the NGBS for your team!

Learn more about NGBS Green certification by visiting HomeInnovation.com/Green. Interested in sharing more detailed information with your whole design or construction team? Contact us to schedule an educational session on the NGBS.


Back to Top

Filed Under:

Add your Comment

All fields marked with * are required