Green Investment Resources: National Green Building Standard

The National Green Building Standard is approved by the American National Standards Institute as an American National Standard. NGBS provides critical criteria for rating the environmental impact of design and construction practices in order to achieve the conformance with optimal performance levels in green residential buildings. Incentives exist for NGBS Green-certified projects, but they vary by state. All NGBS state incentive programs are listed on the Home Innovation website.

Financing avenues and federal agencies can also comply with NGBS standards. Fannie Mae, for example, recently announced additional green loan incentives, a free Energy and Water Audit opportunity, and access to additional loan proceeds. Similarly, Freddie Mac has begun to provide additional guidance to lenders in support of green home financing; this initiative includes identifying property eligibility requirements, establishing underwriting requirements, and updating appraisal requirements. Moreover, the NGBS is a recognized alternative compliance path for demonstrating that Housing and Urban Development or USDA-housing meets agencies’ energy efficacy standards.

NGBS certification is available for both single- and multifamily buildings. A new green building can be awarded a Bronze, Silver, Gold, or Emerald certification level, and these labels are contingent upon the number of successfully-incorporated green practices. Pre-existing buildings can also attain a level of certification when remodeled according to NGBS requirements. Renovations must result in a 15% reduction in energy use and a 20% reduction in water use as compared to the building’s pre-model condition.