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NGBS Green approved as code compliance option for Chicago-area builders & developers.

October 11, 2022 | Upper Marlboro, MD

NGBS Green Certification Recognized Alternative to Meet New Chicago Building Code

Chicago’s City Council has passed 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 Chicago Energy Transformation Code goes into effect on November 1, 2022. This new code includes requirements for electrification- and solar-ready construction, window placement to reduce solar heat gain, improved insulation to reduce heat loss, and energy-efficient lighting.

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. This third-party verification will supplement the City’s own permitting and inspection processes.

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. Local code departments 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 the local jurisdiction can scale back their own inspection scope, reducing the administrative code of implementing a new building code. Third-party green building offers developer myriad benefits, including increased valuation, qualification for preferred financing, and enhanced marketing.

Home Innovation’s NGBS Green certification provides independent, third-party verification that a single-family, multifamily, or mixed-use building is designed and built to achieve high performance in six key areas: Site Design, Resource Efficiency, Water Efficiency, Energy Efficiency, Indoor Environmental Quality, and Operation & Maintenance. At the Gold and Emerald levels, an NGBS Green Certified building is constructed to be at least 15% or 20% more energy efficient, respectively, than the 2018 IECC version.

“Acceptance of third-party green certification is a win-win for both local developers and the City of Chicago,” said Michelle Foster, Home Innovation’s Vice President of Sustainability. “Developers gain the marketing and potential valuation advantages associated with green building certification. And for local code officials, acceptance of independent third-party certification can reduce administrative costs and oversight efforts, while not compromising performance requirements.”

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. 

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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.