This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

February 14, 2007

Home Builders and Building Code Group to Develop Green Standards

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and the International Code Council (ICC), which develops building codes, announced on February 7th that they will join forces to develop a residential green building standard. NAHB took a leadership position in such standards back in 2005, when it published the Model Green Home Building Guidelines, while the ICC promotes green building practices through its International Codes. Those codes set minimum standards for energy efficiency and sustainable building practices but also suggest voluntarily "above-code" practices. The two organizations aim to have the new standard accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), which coordinates the development and use of voluntary consensus standards in the United States. A solicitation for membership in the consensus committee is posted on the NAHB Research Center Web site. See the ICC press release, the ANSI Web site, and the NAHB Research Center Web site.

The announcement was supported by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), which has its "LEED for Homes" certification in the pilot phase, with a full release scheduled for this summer. LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design and is a widely accepted green building benchmark. The USGBC is an ANSI-accredited standards developer and has expressed an interest in joining the new NAHB/ICC consensus committee. The USGBC is already working on a green building standard for commercial buildings with the help of the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IESNA). See the USGBC press release.

Of course, another popular way to earn credit for an energy efficient building is to earn the Energy Star label. More than 3,200 buildings have earned the Energy Star label, which means they use 35 percent less energy than average buildings. In 2006 alone, 320 supermarkets, 320 office buildings, and 200 K-12 schools earned the Energy Star, which is a joint program of DOE and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). And for businesses seeking Energy Star-rated commercial buildings, the CoStar Group, Inc. is now including the rating in its database. CoStar claims to be the top provider of commercial real estate information, with a database of more than 2 million commercial properties. See the EPA and CoStar press releases, as well as the EPA's list (PDF 4.3 MB) and map of Energy Star buildings. Download Adobe Reader.