EARLIER THIS YEAR, THE NAHB and the International Code Council (ICC) announced their agreement to develop a new National Green Building Standard, providing a common benchmark for recognizing green residential design, development, and construction practices. Because market demand for green-built homes is growing rapidly, the NAHB Research Center, which is coordinating the effort, has set an aggressive timeline for development and is expected to complete the standard in early 2008.

Based on the NAHB Model Green Home Building Guidelines, the standard will be submitted for accreditation by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). Once the accreditation process is complete, the standard can be adopted by local green home building programs or building departments as a conformance guide. ANSI guidelines for standard development require consensus-based decision-making and opportunity for public comment to ensure that views of all affected parties—as well as those who regulate the construction industry—are adequately considered.

The NAHB Research Center has organized a consensus committee of more than 70 builders, designers, government officials, and manufacturer's representatives to draft the new standard. The draft is currently posted on the Research Center's Web site, www.nahbrc.org/gbstandard, which industry professionals are encouraged to check regularly for progress.

Many residential construction industry stakeholders already have reviewed the working draft, providing numerous individual comments on the proposed standard's various components. It's still too soon to tell how many comments will be incorporated into the new standard.

Modifications are currently under review, but there are some key requirements of the existing Model Green Home Building Guidelines that will likely remain active in the national standard. According to Kochkin, the new standard will incorporate a points system, which will require certain practices and then allow builders to pick and choose among other green practices in order to achieve a minimum number of points. “How you get there is up to you,” he says.