Home Innovation News

August 14, 2012

Vancouver Developer Aiming High with NGBS Certification

Vancouver, WA - Troy Johns, principal of Vancouver, WA, based Urban NW Homes and self-proclaimed sustainability “nerd,” is all in when it comes to getting his new homes and development certified to the ICC 700 National Green Building Standard (NGBS). Not content with just getting his 18-lot Wild Glen development Green Certified, and being the first West Coast development to do so – he’s now got a letter of approval from Home Innovation Research Labs that states the development will achieve four-star green certification, the highest level available for land development under the NGBS, if completed as planned.

Michael Luzier, president of Home Innovation Labs, will join Johns and other local builders, developers, real estate professionals, politicians, and members of the media this Saturday at the Wild Glen development to break ground on what Johns hopes is the first of many homes within the community to also achieve NGBS certification. The groundbreaking will serve as a warm-up for the sustainability fair held by the Clark County Building Industry Association’s Green Building Council, for which Johns is the current president, the following week and kick off a series of “hard hat” tours and training provided at the Wild Glen site.

This first home in the community is being built by Johns’ company and is designed as a Net Zero Energy home that will ultimately have a very limited carbon footprint and will produce at least as much energy as it consumes. Johns is optimistic that the home will achieve Emerald level NGBS certification – again, the highest certification level available within the standard for homes.

“Our goal with this community and this house in particular,” said Johns, “is education. We hope to have at least 200 people – including local contractors and consumers – come out to the site during our ‘hard hat’ tours by the end of this year to see what’s going on behind the walls and learn what can be accomplished with the right product selection, conscientious design, and consideration of the whole house as an interconnected system.”

In addition to Urban NW Homes’ site tours, the Clark County BIA Green Building Council will be hosting free training seminars for small builders and contractors in the area. They will even help offset the cost of NGBS verification and certification for many of the seminar participants – possibly accounting for up to 100 local homes!

Johns is also trying to remove other cost barriers than can come with the higher-efficiency products often associated with green building. “We can effect change in our area,” he said. “We have enough lots and momentum in this region that we can help create some economies of scale for other builders with the products we select.” One example he noted was with windows – since Urban NW Homes uses U28 windows and they buy so many, smaller builders in the area can benefit from the reduced prices generated by higher quantity purchasing; it makes the higher efficiency windows as economical as U35 windows which are more typical in the area.

Similar to Home Innovation Research Labs, the Clark County building community is trying to remove barriers to creating better, more efficient, and more marketable homes. Visit the Home Innovation’s website for more information on NGBS certification, or the Urban NW Homes site for more information on Wild Glen.

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ABOUT: Home Innovation Research Labs, located in Upper Marlboro, Md., is a full-service research, testing, and consulting firm determined to improve the quality, durability, affordability, and environmental performance of single- and multifamily homes and home building products – in short, we aim to perfect the home. Founded in 1964 as a subsidiary of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), our team has been integral in solving many of our client’s most difficult product and technology issues, and helping to introduce some of the most groundbreaking innovations in residential construction. Through an interdisciplinary research approach – including market research, building science analysis, laboratory testing, and standards development – we help to find a home for innovation in the residential construction industry.

NOTE TO EDITORS ON STYLE USAGE: To identify this company and its work correctly, first reference should be "Home Innovation Research Labs." In subsequent mentions, "Home Innovation Labs” or simply “Home Innovation” are acceptable and accurate alternative references; we are not identified by an acronym. Prior to February 12, 2013, the company was known as the NAHB Research Center.