March 4, 2009
National Green Building Standard Approved By ANSI

The National Green Building Standard™ for all residential construction work including single-family homes, apartments and condos, land development, and remodeling and renovation was approved Jan. 29 by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).

As NAHB Chairman Joe Robson said in a press release we sent out that day, "The approval signals a new era for the nation’s builders, remodelers and developers and also provides an extra measure of reassurance for home buyers." As the first and only green building rating system approved by ANSI, it now becomes the benchmark for green homes.

The standard defines what green practices can be incorporated into residential development and construction and how home owners can operate and maintain their green homes.

But the National Green Building Standard also provides for flexibility – allowing home builders and home buyers to make green choices based on climate and geography as well as style preferences and budget.

At a teleconference in early February introducing the new standard to the press, International Code Council Chief Operating Officer Dominic Sims also emphasized the important role the standard will play as builders and code officials try to reconcile green building practices with existing code requirements.

He pointed out yet another advantage of this new standard: It's code based. More than 90% of new homes are built to some version of the International Residential Code, he noted, so an above-code program with the same points of reference makes sense for the industry because it's more logical to understand.

“Coordination is key,” Sims said during the teleconference, adding that the standard adds predictability and consistency to above-code practices, such as green building, while retaining the flexibility that builders and home buyers are seeking.

Now, the NAHB Research Center will be able to provide certification to a much wider assortment of green building projects, whereas until now, it has only been able to provide certification for new single-family homes.

“Builders and homebuyers who have been confused by the many characterizations of green building in the marketplace now have clear, flexible, bona fide criteria defined under the new standard,” said Michael Luzier, president of the NAHB Research Center. “Under the standard, there are options for Bronze, Silver, Gold, or Emerald levels of certification that provide builders and remodelers with the flexibility to choose the certification level appropriate for their market and their customers.”

Of course, home builders will still be able to certify homes using the NAHB Model Green Home Building Guidelines, the original rating system provided by NAHBGreen when the program launched just a year ago.

It's all about choice, and it always has been. NAHB has long understood that the most dynamic programs are voluntary programs -- rating systems that set a bar, not a ceiling. Our members discovered that bar when they began to work with the Guidelines and will find even more application with the new Standard.

As part of the stringent process required by ANSI, NAHB and the International Code Council gathered a fully inclusive and representative consensus committee composed of a broad spectrum of builders, architects, product manufacturers, regulators and environmental experts. The work of the consensus committee was administered by the Research Center, which is an ANSI Accredited Standards Developer.

The consensus committee deliberated the content of the standard for more than a year, held four public hearings and evaluated over 2,000 public comments in the development of the standard.

They did quite a job, didn't they? Congratulations to all of them.

Bob Jones

Source: NAHB GreenBuilding Update

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Brought to you by the Steel Framing Alliance (SFA) on the first Wednesday of each month, Framework Online arms you with the latest news and commentary on the steel framing and construction industries. In addition to industry headlines, trends and project profiles, Framework Online provides information and ideas that will better enable members to increase their participation in the residential and commercial construction markets.