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Pushing for a Greener Habitat Outside the House – NAHB

Filed in Codes and Regulations, Environmental, Land Development on August 9, 2016 0 Comments

NGBS coverThe ICC/ASHRAE 700-2015 National Green Building Standard (NGBS) was released in March. This post is the third in a series of eight that will examine what’s different in this new edition – and what’s changed in the world of sustainable construction since the 2012 NGBS. This week: Updates to Lot Design, Preparation, and Development.

The Lot Design, Preparation, and Development category is the first of the six residential construction green practice categories in the standard. It offers a subset of options from the previous section, Site Design and Development, which may be applied to the smaller scale lot. It offers a diverse menu of practices for the builder that can be tailored to varying lot conditions and opportunities.

Many of the changes to this category are similar or the same as the Site Design and Developmentcategory. More multi-modal transportation options are available, promoting pedestrian activity and bicycle use, and there is an increased focus on Low-Impact Development (LID) stormwater management practices, as well as more permeable surfaces.

Specific updates within this category include:

  • Updates to this section place a greater emphasis on multi-modal transportation options, and encourages increased bicycle storage availability for multifamily buildings based on the number of units.
  • Stormwater management practices increasingly focus on low-impact development LID, with tiers of points available for preventing off-lot discharge for the 80th, 90, and 95th percentile storm events.
  • Points previously awarded for the creation of a landscape plan now require evidence that the plan was indeed executed.
  • Projects can now earn additional points for having landscaping which emphasizes biodiversity, water conservation, non-invasive vegetation, and the creation of pollinator habitats. See this series of helpful guides on pollinator habitat installations for regions across the United States
  • The new standard increasingly promotes the use of water-permeable surfaces – such as vegetated paving systems – to reduce impervious surfaces on driveways, streets and parking areas.

Roofs with high SRI (solar reflective index) values no longer earn points in this category for heat island mitigation, but instead can earn points in the next category Resource Efficiency. Only roofs having at least 75% of their area vegetated using technology capable of withstand climate and microclimate conditions can earn points in this category.

  • Points achieved for the average density of residential units have been adjusted to encourage increased density on lots.
  • Points are now available for including Level 2 plug-in electric vehicle charging capability for multi-unit buildings. At a minimum, 1% of stalls require charging capability.

Stay tuned for next week’s post on the updates to the Resource Efficiency Category, the second category involved in the certification of single-family and multifamily homes.

Download the standard for free or purchase a hard copy. To learn more about certifying your project, visit the Home Innovation Research Lab.

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