Home Innovation Insights

Insider insights on what's going on in the home building industry.

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Michelle Foster
November 29, 2022

Federal Tax Incentives for Energy Efficient New Construction and Upgrades

The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) of 2022 is the most comprehensive and far-reaching federal investment to combat climate change to date, and the incentives for homes and multifamily buildings contained in the legislation can help transform the way we design, build, and renovate our homes and apartments for many years to come.

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Michelle Foster
May 6, 2022

Why is it Important the NGBS is Part of the I-Codes?

The National Green Building Standard (NGBS) ICC-700 was developed as a collaboration between ICC and NAHB to create a rating system for homes and multifamily buildings that would be used as voluntary, above-code program. Two aspects of the NGBS were innovative and helped propel NGBS Green to become the most widely used green standard for residentially-used buildings in the United States. First, the NGBS is written in code language, so that everyone on a project team -- architects, specifiers, general contractors, MEP engineers, subs, insulation crews, HVAC installers – can understand it because they all know and understand the building code. Second, the NGBS is designed for a specific type of building occupancy, not type of construction -- it's designed for the buildings where we live. Many experts scoffed at this idea when the NGBS was being developed, but it has come to serve the specific needs of multifamily builders, which differ vastly from commercial builders and developers, much more comprehensively than any green building program that came before it. Find out more about how the NGBS both aligns with and adds value to the building codes.

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Michelle Foster
April 22, 2022

Earth Day Reflections: Looking Back on 2021

Today, on Earth Day 2022, everyone is taking rightful stock of the world around them and the impact they have on it. For NGBS Green, that’s not just something we do one day a year – it’s our full-time mission and purpose. But, we figured today was a great opportunity to take a look back at all the NGBS Green certification program did in 2021 to help move the needle further toward creating a better, more sustainable, healthier, and more fulfilling built environment for the places where we all live, both behind the scenes and in the spotlight.

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Michelle Foster
March 30, 2022

The SEC Ups the Ante: Greenwashing Riskier Than Ever

New SEC rules will require public companies to report on the climate impacts of their business. The SEC proposal requires companies to disclose climate-related risks – such as how climate might impact their business, operations, or financial condition – in their statements and corporate reports. Companies will also be required to disclose their greenhouse gas emissions, per the new rules. For our NGBS Green certification clients, the proposed SEC rule provides additional validation of your decision to design, build, and own high-performing real property assets, and seek a third-party certification of their conformance to back-up your environmental claims. The SEC rule aligns closely with the value of third-party certification. The NGBS Green mark signifies to investors, consumers, government staff, and other stakeholders that a building’s environmental claims are independently verified.

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Michelle Foster
November 15, 2021

The Who, What, How, When, and Why of the NGBS Green Appeals Process

As the NGBS Green independent certification agency, Home Innovation takes the responsibility of granting a green building certification very seriously. NGBS Green certification follows a carefully prescribed process designed to ensure that buildings are designed and constructed to the NGBS’s rigorous requirements, and our 100% third-party verification system requires an independent Verifier to schedule multiple inspections to ensure what the architect designs is what gets built.  But construction can be messy and sometimes, even with the best intentions, the process goes awry. Perhaps the site superintendent forgets to schedule the Verifier’s site visit before the sheetrock contractor hangs drywall in some apartments. Or, maybe the building owner misses a key program deadline. Less common, but also possible, is that an NGBS practice is written unclearly, and real-world compliance is uncertain. The NGBS Green Appeals process can offer administrative relief, or at least consideration of an alternative compliance process, for projects that face such issues.

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Michelle Foster
October 15, 2021

Proof Points: An NGBS Green Home is a Better Built Home

The NGBS Green certification process is designed to confirm a home or multifamily building meets the stringent requirements of the National Green Building Standard ICC-700 (NGBS). A building that earns the NGBS Green certification mark has been shown to conform to the NGBS as verified in-person by an Accredited NGBS Green Verifier and certified as conforming by Home Innovation Research Labs. As the national NGBS Green certification agency, our Quality Assurance (QA) oversight runs deep and we have expansive procedures to ensure buildings earning the certification mark are NGBS compliant. These QA procedures reinforce the NGBS Green certification mark by increasing homebuyer’s and renter’s confidence, bolstering the program’s value to builders and developers, and solidifying the program’s credibility with lenders and government agencies. Find our more about the QA that's "baked in" to our certification program.

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Michelle Foster
September 24, 2021

How HUD Transformed the Multifamily Market Via Green Incentives & Policy

Without question, the single most impactful catalyst for green, high-performance multifamily buildings has been the HUD Green Mortgage Insurance Premium (MIP) Reduction. The Green MIP reduction was the game changer the residential construction industry needed. It was a big enough financial incentive that even the most stalwart anti-green developer or owner couldn’t resist. As news of the HUD MIP reduction spread through the industry, developers and owners that previously never considered a green certification, or even openly scoffed at the suggestion, changed their minds. Find out how federal incentives have worked, and can continue to work, to help us reach a greener future faster.

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Michelle Foster
August 9, 2021

$o Many Rea$on$ to Get NGB$ Green Certified

Some multifamily developers forego seeking green building certification because they believe the costs are too high. It can cost a lot – but not for the reasons they may be thinking. Ultimately, it’s not that the costs are too high to earn the green certification – rather, it is the opportunity cost of leaving tens of thousands of dollars of incentive financing on the table when they don’t have a green certification. As these developers finalize their permanent financing, they realize how green certification would have more than paid for itself (many times over) if only they had added it as a design objective prior to construction.

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Michelle Foster
June 16, 2021

Voice of the Verifier: Drew Smith, NGBS Green MASTER Verifier on the 2021 TNAR Show Home

Every couple weeks we allow a green blog takeover by one of our NGBS Green program’s Verifier influencers with green expertise to share. Today's takeover-er is Drew Smith, of Two Trails, Inc., an NGBS Green MASTER Verifier with many years of experience verifying The New American Home (TNAH) and The New American Remodel (TNAR) show homes that are featured at the International Builders’ Show annually. Find out some of the unique challenges and opportunities that he and the project team for the 2021 TNAR experienced.

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Michelle Foster
June 4, 2021

Voice of the Verifier: Abe Kruger, NGBS Green Verifier

Come takeover the Home Innovation Insights blog! Every few weeks we are allowing a green blog media takeover and granting posting privileges to a Verifier influencer with green expertise to share.

Today's takeover-er is Abe Kruger, SK Collaborative and an accredited NGBS Green Verifier. Read on to see what Abe has to say.

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Author Bio
Michelle Foster, Vice President, Sustainability
Michelle Foster
Vice President, Sustainability

You can usually find Michelle on the road touting the benefits of our green building certification program based on the ANSI-approved National Green Building Standard®. Prior to joining Home Innovation Research Labs, Michelle cultivated decades of housing experience in planning, environmental, land use, and financing issues.