A growing number of builders, remodelers and architects are using the National Green Building Standard (NGBS) to design and construct green-certified single-family homes and multifamily buildings, and for certified green remodeling projects. High-performance, energy-efficient windows, doors and skylights make an important contribution to scoring the points needed to achieve the Bronze, Silver, Gold and Emerald rating levels the NGBS offers.

For those who may not be that familiar with NGBS and the green building certification under it, the current 2015 edition of the NGBS is an ANSI-accredited green building design, construction and remodeling standard for single-family homes and multifamily buildings.

Jointly developed by the International Code Council (ICC) and the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), it offers the four rating levels noted above, each with a minimum number of points that must gained, depending on the rating level.

Certification is achieved through the NGBS Certification program, operated by the Home Innovations Research Labs. To date, the NGBS Certification program has certified 4,295 multifamily buildings, representing 154,315 dwelling units, and 15,315 single-family homes. In addition, there are currently 2,670 multifamily buildings in progress, representing an additional 124,423 dwelling units, and 5,468 single-family homes.

There are several ways for windows, doors and skylights to score points toward achieving each of the rating levels.

Available points under the Energy Efficiency Practices chapter

At a minimum, windows, doors and skylights must meet the U-factor and SHGC requirements of the 2015 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) and must be NFRC-certified (or equivalent) accordingly, in addition to requiring North American Fenestration Standard certification. From there, points can be earned under one of three progressively enhanced fenestration levels based upon the eight climate zones in the IECC. The more energy efficient, the more points.

  • The first enhanced level requires the use of products that meet or exceed the same U-factor and SHGC required by the Version 6.0 ENERGY STAR Program Requirements for Residential Windows, Doors, and Skylights.
  • The second enhanced level requires more stringent U-factors ranging from a maximum of 0.38 for climate zones 1 and 2, a maximum of 0.30 and 0.28 for climate zones 3 and 4, respectively, and a maximum of 0.25 for climate zones 5 through 8.
  • The third enhanced level is only available for projects located in climate zones 4 through 8. Under that level, a maximum U-factor of 0.25 is required for climate zone 4, and a maximum U-factor of 0.22 is required for climate zones 5 through 8.

Available points under the Resource Efficiency Practices chapter

Requirements for these points are bit more varied and available for products as follows:

  • Window, door and skylight assemblies that do not require paint or stain on either the exterior or the interior surface.
  • Wood-based products with wood certified under one of five forest stewardship programs approved in the standard.
  • 50 percent or more of the door leafs installed are certified to UL 102 – Standard for Sustainability for Door Leafs.
  • Products for which a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) has been performed, and products with a Type III Environmental Product Declaration (EPD).

Get more information on the National Green Building Standard and the Home Innovations Research Labs NGBS Certification program here.

Jeff Inks is WDMA Vice President of Advocacy.

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