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The 2020 edition of the ICC-700 National Green Building Standard® (NGBS) has been approved by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and is available for public use. The NGBS provides the roadmap for residential professionals to integrate green practices and features appropriate for their businesses and local housing markets. As of April 2020, more than 216,000 homes have been NGBS Green certified.

The 2020 edition is the fourth edition of the standard, which reflects significant changes based on evolving market conditions and feedback received over the past decade from those using the standard. This edition expands the application of innovative practices and offers additional options toward achieving certification. Changes include:

  • A new Chapter 12: Certified Compliance Path — for Single-Family Homes, Townhomes and Duplexes — that is intended to provide an entry point to certification for single-family builders, particularly production builders.
  • An expanded scope that now includes certification for:
    • Mixed-use buildings in their entirety as long as the residential portion of the building is greater than 50% of gross floor area; and
    • Assisted living facilities, residential board and care facilities, and group homes.
  • new water-efficiency performance path using an index that generates a score relative to a standard baseline home and equates that to an NGBS certification level.
  • A substantially revised remodeling chapter that offers:
    • An option to utilize a phased approach for multifamily remodeling projects; and
    • A choice of prescriptive or performance compliance paths for energy and water efficiency.

The NGBS includes high-performance building practices in six areas: Lot Design and Development, Resource Efficiency, Water Efficiency, Energy Efficiency, Indoor Environmental Quality, and Building Operation & Maintenance.

The NGBS has several certification levels — Certified, Bronze, Silver, Gold and Emerald — providing residential building professionals options to integrate sustainability and high performance into their project at a level most appropriate for their business model, customer base and local housing market.

The NGBS continues to provide architects, builders and developers the flexibility needed to design and construct homes and mixed-use buildings that are sustainable, cost effective and appropriate for a home’s geographic location.

“The benefit of the NGBS is its flexibility — that I’m able to pick practices that work together rather than have a very prescriptive set of practices that I have to follow,” says John Barrows, NAHB Sustainability and Green Building Subcommittee Chair and founder of B3 Builder Group in Bridgehampton, N.Y. “I can tailor the practices from the options in the program so that I meet my clients’ budget a little bit easier.”

Download the NGBS for free at nahb.org/ngbs.

For more details about NAHB’s sustainable and green building initiatives, contact Sustainability and Green Building Program Manager Michelle Diller. To stay current on high-performance residential building, follow NAHB’s Sustainability and Green Building team on Twitter.