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US Welcomes New Green Building Standard

This next generation of residential building standards is the first to be approved since 2009 and will provide an innovative benchmark for the residential building industry.

According to reports, the new NGBS is easier for industry members to implement and understand, which could pave the way for a whole host of greener residential developments.

The 2012 ICC 700 NGBS is the first of its kind to go through a review from the Consensus Committee of the American National Standards Institute. The original ICC 700 was developed in 2006 and used the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) was its framework.

The improvements within the NGBS provides revised criteria for buildings as a whole and factors in aspects of greater water and energy efficiency. A greater green focus for renovation projects such as basements, kitchens, bathrooms has also been included. In addition, there is a new scoring element for developments in green communities.

The new version of the 2012 ICC 700 will include changes such as:

A revised energy code. The 2012 ICC 700 will use the 2009 IECC as its framework, which is said to produce a 15 per cent increase in efficiency performance greater than the framework of the 2006 ICC 700.

A redeveloped scoring system for remodelling. A new set of standards for renovations includes an additional two chapters focusing on existing development projects. The first chapter provides requirements for entire buildings such as water and energy efficiency, while the second chapter gives a green protocol to follow for functional areas of a residential build such as the kitchen.

Additional incentives for developments. A new scoring system has been implemented for projects that have been chosen which are already a part of green communities. This is the first time the ICC 700 has included a system like this.

In 2007, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) partnered up with the ICC to put into place a nationally recognised standard system for the residential building industry. The NAHB research centre has certified the compliance of thousands of residential developments and green initiatives. Currently the International Green Construction Code (IgCC) requires the agreement to uphold the standards of the ICC 700 for residential buildings which stand at four storeys or less. The IgCC aims to empower the building industry in ensuring the safe, sustainable and affordable development of residential projects. The building codes produced by the IgCC give the building industry a set of comprehensive regulations to maintain the safety and sustainable success of developments.

This latest approval of the updated 2012 ICC 700 National Green Building Standard is thought to be a next step in underpinning quality and transparency within the green residential construction industry across America.

By Jemilla Russell-Clough


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