The updates of two green building programs of importance to the apartment sector-the National Green Building Standard (NGBS) and the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED programs-are nearing completion. The new requirements could significantly affect multifamily green building projects moving forward.
Revision of the 2008 edition of the National Green Building Standard (ICC-700 2008) began in November 2010. The development committee has approved the final document and has submitted it to the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) for accreditation. Publication of the updated NGBS is expected in early 2013.
The NGBS is an important tool for the multifamily sector, as it is the only green building standard addressing all residential properties and developed with input from the apartment industry. NMHC/NAA served on the initial development committee for the NGBS and continue to represent the multifamily sector on the current NGBS committee. To date, roughly 6,700 projects have been certified under the NGBS, including more than 400 multifamily buildings, representing 8,700-plus apartment units.
Concurrently, development of LEED v4-an update to LEED 2009-is in its final stages. In the new version of the program, LEED users will face substantially altered credits and requirements, as LEED v4 is specifically designed to increase the rigor of the program. For developers who are required by local ordinance to comply with the LEED designation, compliance may become extremely challenging and costly given the proposed redistribution of points awarded for various building features.
Originally scheduled for release in 2012, the USGBC pushed back publication of the new LEED criteria in response to numerous concerns, including limitations placed on the use of specific building materials. The last comment period closed on Dec. 10, 2012, with the USGBC receiving more than 21,000 comments through the various update phases.
USGBC will convene a voting committee in April 2013, with final approval of the new criteria scheduled for the summer of 2013. LEED 2009 will remain available for use until June 2015 to accommodate projects in development. Information about the development of LEED v4 is available at https://new.usgbc.org/v4.