NGBS Analysis & Incentives

Comparing NGBS to LEED and other green home certification rating systems.

NGBS Analysis & Incentives

Comparing Green Home Building Rating Systems

Energy Performance

The topic of equivalency often arises in discussions about green rating systems. While there are many elements of performance in green rating systems, energy performance is a key consideration.

The Multifamily Energy Performance Comparisons compare the energy performance of the ICC-700 National Green Building Standard® (NGBS) against other residential and commercial building codes, energy ratings, and green building certifications.

NGBS Green+ NET ZERO ENERGY, LEED Zero Energy, and Enterprise Green Communities Plus each offer a streamlined pathway for green certified buildings to achieve additional recognition. Developers should be aware that each program features distinct compliance requirements and cost structures. NGBS Green+ NET ZERO ENERGY certification offers a flexible and affordable solution for net zero energy construction that is issued at the same time as green certification and does not require post-occupancy benchmarking or recertification.

Compare NGBS to LEED

Cost and Stringency Comparison of 2012 National Green Building Standard™ ICC 700-2012, LEED-H 2008, and LEED v4 for Homes Design and Construction  evaluates the costs and technical requirements of bringing sample code-compliant production houses in different climate zones (Dallas, Denver, and Minneapolis/St. Paul) into compliance with three different green building rating systems. For each of three climate zones, the homes were specified to the minimum building code requirements of the IECC/IRC 2009 and IECC/IRC 2012.3, and the building codes provided the basis from which the incremental costs of green building standard compliance are measured.

Determining Equivalency: Comparison of the National Green Building Standard and LEED NC compares the scope and requirements of the National Green Building Standard (NGBS) and LEED for New Construction—the most popular green rating systems for multifamily communities 8+ stories in height.

NGBS vs. LEED-ND Comparison Report  evaluates the equivalency between 2020 ICC-700 National Green Building Standard (NGBS) Land Development criteria and the LEED 2018 for Neighborhood Development (LEED-ND) rating system. The report evaluates sustainability goals, process and maintenance of the rating systems, and verification and certification process and procedures.

AIA Cincinnati has also published a report comparing LEED for Homes and the National Green Building Standard . While the City of Cincinnati offers tax incentives for new and renovated homes certified to LEED, the local HBA requested that the NGBS be adopted for the same incentives. This report reviews both residential green building rating systems to determine if they are equivalent in performance and rigor of proof.

The Home Builders Association of Greater Chicago released a report  evaluating the additional costs of elevating three sample code-compliant, urban, residential building types in the City of Chicago into compliance with Chicago Green Homes Program (CGH), NGBS, and LEED-H.


Multiple-attribute green certifications like NGBS Green are more comprehensive than energy labels and ratings, such as ENERGY STAR and HERS. View these resources to learn more:

Compare NGBS to Healthy Building Programs

Blue Green Alliance reviewed more than 20 residential building certifications to develop a wide ranging list and mapping of the various healthy building practices that are mandated or incentivized by the certification programs. View their mapping to understand how the NGBS requirements compare to other green and healthy building rating systems, including LEED, Fitwel, Living Building Challenge, PHIUS, and WELL.

NGBS Green certification stands apart from healthy building programs, as it is more comprehensive and better aligned with residential construction.

Compare NGBS to GreenPoint Rated (GPR) National Multifamily

Both NGBS Green and GPR certification programs offer frameworks for assessing the health, performance, and sustainability of new multifamily buildings. As it is based on the entire NGBS rather than a select few green practices, NGBS Green certification is more rigorous and comprehensive, covering many green building practices that GPR does not address.

Compare NGBS to PHIUS+ Certification

PHIUS+ recognizes buildings that are extremely high performing in terms of energy use and address some additional requirements related to comfort and indoor air quality. PHIUS+ homes are well-positioned to earn NGBS Green certification, because the PHIUS co-requisites align very closely with the NGBS requirements.

Compare NGBS to EarthCraft

The NGBS and EarthCraft rating systems offer a framework for assessing the health, performance, and sustainability of new and renovated buildings. The NGBS and EarthCraft cover the same concepts, but the NGBS is more comprehensive and rigorous.

Compare NGBS to EGC

Both NGBS and EGC offer a guideline for assessing the health, performance, and sustainability of new and renovated buildings, yet there are key differences between the two programs.

Compare NGBS to Green Globes

Both NGBS and Green Globes are ANSI-approved standards for high-performance, sustainable buildings. NGBS is more comprehensive and focuses on residential buildings, while Green Globes is more equally focused on commercial and residential applications. 

Current Incentives Available for NGBS Green Certified Projects

Since ANSI approved the National Green Building Standard, municipalities and government officials have consistently deemed it to be on par or superior to other residential green rating systems. Home Innovation Research Labs has created a current summary of all known incentives across the country that specifically recognize certification to the NGBS.


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