How does the NGBS Benefit Communities?

The National Green Building Standard certification goes well beyond saying a home is energy efficient; it provides independent, third-party verification that a home, apartment building, or land development is designed and built to achieve high performance in six key areas:  Site Design, Resource Efficiency, Water Efficiency, Energy Efficiency, Indoor Environmental Quality, and Building Operation & Maintenance.

Why have so many government jurisdictions already recognized the ICC 700 National Green Building Standard (NGBS) as part of their local sustainability programs?

Because the NGBS is:

  • Comprehensive – To become certified a building must be high-performing in all six areas noted above. This assures balanced, sustainable construction.
  • Cost-Effective – The NGBS is affordable to implement in terms of both hard-costs and certification fees. The cost-effective designs means that higher costs are not passed on to residents.
  • Vetted Through Due Process – The only ANSI-approved residential green building rating system. ANSI approval means that the NGBS is a true consensus-based standard, developed by a balance of stake-holders, and has passed the scrutiny of extensive public review and comment.
  • Rigorous – Municipalities and government officials have consistently deemed the NGBS superior to other residential green rating systems. Take a closer look at how the NGBS compares to other rating systems (link to )
  • Market-Tested & Proven – While the majority of Home Innovation’s NGBS Green Certification clients build market-rate homes and are drawn to the program without the need for incentives, we realize not every locale is at the same stage of market development. NGBS Green Certification provides an ideal platform for areas looking to create a green home building market and can align with all manner of government initiatives, budgets and policies to that end.
  • Written in Code Language – Unlike other green rating systems, the NGBS is written in code language. This allows it to be easily understood by all construction and trades professionals who might touch an NGBS Green Certified project, as well as the government personnel who review the standard for local programs.

In 2007, The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and the International Code Council (ICC) partnered to establish a nationally-recognizable standard definition of green building. The resulting ICC 700 National Green Building Standard® is the first and only residential green building rating system to undergo the full consensus process and receive approval from the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).

ANSI is a private, non-profit organization that administers and coordinates the U.S. voluntary standards and assessment system in the area of Energy Efficiency.

Following an ANSI accredited program will provide credibility. Most competitors’ green certification programs are self-administered, and therefore self-proclaimed. ANSI accredited programs utilize a Third Party verifier for independent verification of the builder/developer claims.

Adopting the NGBS or any ANSI accredited program gives the municipality a “green compass.”  Rather than create new funding sources, increase staff or create new implementation policies, local governments can trust the third-party verifiers to ensure that builders are meeting or exceeding the principles and standards of the program.
Once adopted as a voluntary program, municipalities can incentivize builders in creative ways, while also meeting the needs of local government. By developing these incentive programs, builders will seek out these third-party certified home programs to offset the ever rising costs of construction. The incentives will not cost the local government money, as they can be paid by permitting fees. Lowered utility costs, increased density, access to public transportation – all of these are goals of NGBS and place less of a burden on local government.

As an example, these incentive program often include a SKIP, where green certified projects can move to the front of the permitting line. This ills save builders weeks of waiting and hundreds of dollars while with zero costs to local government.

Homes built to an ANSI accredited program standard such as NGBS improve the local and regional environment, lighten the burden on local services and help to create vibrant healthy communities that will look and perform better and longer than standard built homes.

Currently, a builder is only required to build a minimum code home. In the residential construction industry a code built home is virtually the worst house a builder can legally build and represents a zero sum game for local government.

Are you considering adopting NGBS as a voluntary code for your municipality? The Green Building Council has assisted both Clark County and the City of Vancouver. We would be honored to work alongside other communities with a mutual goal of encouraging more sustainable building.


If you have questions or are looking for resources, please reach out to any of these Green Building Council members:

Mike Selig, Clark County,
Troy Johns, Urban NW Homes,
Phil Weust, Black Helterline,