First Comment Period for Green Standard Closes
The first public comment period for the proposed residential green building standard closes today as NAHB moves closer to creating a green certification protocol for single-family and multifamily homes, lot and site development and residential remodeling.
The comments pertain to the draft version of the standard now posted on the NAHB Research Center’s Web site.
The draft was available for 45 days in accordance with procedures set by the American National Standards Institute, or ANSI. That organization has established rules for consensus and public comment to ensure that the standard represents the combined vision of the participants — including home builders, suppliers, environmental advocates and government officials.
The draft standard is based on the NAHB Model Green Home Building Guidelines, but has been reshaped by committee members who have been working since last spring in task groups assigned to study specific components of the guidelines and make recommendations for change.
Among those changes, residential remodeling and multifamily construction issues, not addressed in the guidelines, will be part of the standard.
Additionally, the committee has spent a considerable amount of time revamping the point system in the guidelines. As a result, practices in each section of the standard — such as energy efficiency, resource efficiency or indoor air quality — are scored under a ranking system that assigns higher point values for those that result in more significant “green” benefits.
For example, said Vladimir Kochkin of the NAHB Research Center, which is serving as the secretariat for the ANSI standard development process, the points in the energy efficiency section are more performance-based. “The points are assessed based on energy savings that have been estimated by the Department of Energy through simulations,” he said.
Also, in addition to existing bronze, silver and gold certification levels, the draft proposes an emerald level for homes with significant green features.
The draft also specifies more mandatory practices. For example, Energy Star®-rated windows must be installed for a home to meet the bronze level in energy efficiency. Builders must achieve minimum point totals in all seven areas: lot preparation and design, resource efficiency, energy efficiency, water efficiency and conservation, occupancy comfort and indoor environmental quality, and operation, maintenance and home owner education.
Standard committee members submitted about 200 comments on the latest iteration of the document. By last week, the number of public comments had climbed to more than 70, and a big push to meet the deadline resulted in more than 100 comments by Monday morning, Kochkin said.
The consensus committee meets Oct. 29-31 to review all the comments that have been submitted. “The committee will make a decision to accept, reject or maybe modify each comment,” Kochkin said. The goal, he said, is to “walk out the door Wednesday night with all comments considered by the committee” so the Research Center can prepare the proposed changes for the second 45-day period of public review.
NAHB is working with the International Code Council to write the new standard, which, depending on how long it takes for ANSI to review the process, is planned to be released in March 2008.
For more information, e-mail Calli Schmidt at NAHB, or call her at 800-368-5242 x8132.
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