Dual Certification Process Set for NAHBGreen and Builders Challenge
The NAHB Research Center is revising the NAHBGreen online scoring tool so that builders can apply in a single process for both the National Green Building Standard approved by ANSI in January and the U.S. Department of Energy’s Builders Challenge program.
While NAHBGreen certification encourages and rewards builders for energy efficiency, the Builders Challenge criteria bring energy efficiency to an elevated level. Conversely, although the Builders Challenge requires basic moisture management and indoor environmental quality practices, it does not address the broad spectrum of green building elements that comprise NAHBGreen certification.
Together, the two programs form a natural synergy in which certification under one program can be more meaningful and valuable when combined with the other, said the Research Center, which is the sole certifying entity for NAHBGreen.
The revised scoring tool will be available in June.
In the first step toward facilitating dual certification, the NAHB Research Center identified overlapping practices in the two rating systems and created a list of practices in the standard that are required for Builders Challenge certification. Practices that a builder would need to adopt when seeking dual certification were identified from the following sections in the standard:
- 602 — Foundation drainage, finished grade, flashing and water-resistive barriers
- 701 — Air sealing, HVAC system sizing and window ratings
- 703 — Insulation and air sealing
- 704 — Duct installation and testing
- 901 — Indoor environmental quality and combustion safety
- 902 — Moisture management and ventilation
- 903 — Capillary break at footer and vapor retarder under concrete slab
In the revised scoring tool, overlapping program requirements will be clearly marked so that builders can see the practices they need to incorporate for dual certification.
In addition to adopting the mandatory practices outlined above, builders seeking dual certification must use Energy Star-labeled windows.
Also, through a third-party home energy rating where the home is tested and computer-simulated, they must receive an EnergySmart Home Scale Score (E-Scale) of no higher than 70. The E-Scale quantifies and compares the energy efficiency of new homes, much like auto stickers compare the miles-per-gallon ratings of new vehicles.
Homes meeting the Builders Challenge receive an EnergySmart Label, which helps buyers make informed choices by providing the E-Scale score, an estimate of monthly utility bills and a comparison of the home’s energy use with that of a conventional home.
Besides providing third-party validation of superior energy efficiency, the Builders Challenge program offers an online database of Builders Challenge companies and pre-packaged marketing materials — including logos and graphics, model press releases and customizable consumer ads and brochures.
Upon completion of the revised scoring tool, the builder will be able to produce two reports that can be sent to an accredited verifier to begin the dual certification process.
An update will be provided this summer when the dual certification program is officially launched.
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