The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) approved the 012 edition of the National Green Building Standard (NGBS) (ICC-700), which will be published Jan. 23, 2013. This is the first update of the NGBS, and the new edition includes a number of important improvements for apartment firms.
The NGBS is an important tool for the multifamily sector, as it is the only code-based green building program designed for all residential construction. First published in 2009, it provides apartment firms with uniform guidance on green building practices and also offers local jurisdictions considering green initiatives an alternative to non-standardized green rating systems, such as the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED program.
NMHC/NAA have been actively involved in the development of the NGBS since its inception. NMHC/NAA served on the initial development committee for the NGBS and was invited to join the new NGBS committee constituted in 2010. In addition, NMHC’s Senior Director of Energy and Environmental Policy Paula Cino served as chair of the committee’s Multifamily Task Group.
The updated NGBS clarifies the certification process for multifamily buildings and specifies the requirements for common areas versus apartment units. In addition, the standard’s renovation and remodeling provisions were totally revamped to facilitate greater use in existing buildings. Numerous substantive changes were also made throughout the standard to bolster the baseline environmental performance levels and incorporate new products and practices. For example, the minimum energy performance criteria were raised by approximately 15 percent, recognizing improvements in building energy codes nationwide.
The NGBS has been widely used throughout the industry and many local jurisdictions have incorporated the standard into numerous sustainability initiatives. More important, the new International Green Construction Code (IgCC) directs users to follow the NGBS in low-rise residential buildings and provides an optional compliance pathway for high-rise apartment buildings. To date, 474 multifamily projects have been certified under the NGBS, totaling more than 9,500 apartment units. The program continues to gain traction; an additional 17,000 multifamily units are currently in the certification pipeline.