NGBS Certification

A six part program to healthier homes with healthier occupants


What is NGBS Certification?

The National Green Building Standard (NGBS) certification goes well beyond saying a property is energy efficient – It provides independent, third-party verification that a project is designed and built to achieve high-performance targets in six key areas:

NGBS Certification Levels

There are four levels of NGBS certification – Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Emerald, with Emerald being the highest achievable level. Points are awarded for sustainable building practices in each area, and verified by a third-party (that’s us!) for reaching designated performance targets. With 435,000+ NGBS Green certified homes nationwide, NGBS is a great program to help achieve your sustainability and ESG goals with a holistic and comprehensive green building approach. 

Since 2001, our accredited team has certified over 5,400 single-family residences, and 600 multifamily and mixed-use buildings with 27,000+ dwelling units to the NGBS standard. Schedule a free consult if you’d like to learn more about NGBS for your next project.

Who is NGBS for?

NGBS features certification pathways for a variety of project types:

  • Single-family homes
  • Townhouses
  • Duplexes
  • High- and low-rise apartment buildings
  • High- and low-rise condominiums
  • Residential units in mixed-use buildings
  • Assisted living facilities
  • Dorms, group homes, and hotels
  • Accessory structures like a community clubhouse
  • Renovation projects and building conversions
  • Residential communities
  • Mixed-use communities
  • And more!

Distinguish your project in a competitive market. NGBS Certification demonstrates your commitment to environmental responsibility and sustainable building practices that contribute to your ESG goals. As a third-party verified certification program, NGBS also provides an extra set of eyes on site for quality control while reducing warranty claims and callbacks.

Ensure your projects are sustainable and energy-efficient. The NGBS program strength is in the on-site verification and testing process. To ensure minimal speed bumps during construction the program requirements and critical details must be clearly shown in the plans and specs. This process starts early on the design phase before the project is out to bid.  

Establish clear guidelines with a nationally recognized standard. Incentivize or mandate the use of sustainable and energy-efficient building practices in your jurisdiction. NGBS offers program guidance for project certification at the single-family, multifamily and mixed-use, and community levels.

Evaluate the sustainability and potential value of a residential property. NGBS Certification is a seal of confidence that a project is third-party verified to be energy-efficient and future-ready helping you to decide when to offer better mortgage rates, insurance premiums, and market valuation for green certified properties.

NGBS Certification banner on a construction fence

NGBS Certification Services

As an NGBS Verifier, we are happy to support your project from design review through testing, documentation, and certification!

Design Review & Energy Modeling

Working with single-family, multifamily, mixed-use, new construction, and renovation projects

Team Onboarding and Education

Onsite training for general contractors and sub-contractors

Onsite Third-Party Verification

Insulation grading, blower door, and HVAC testing

Documentation & Submission

In-depth credit knowledge and streamlined process

Marketing & Sales Support

Signage, talking points, sales team training, and more!

Benefits of NGBS Certification

For Builders, Developers, Owners, Property Managers, and Investors

NGBS-certified homes cost less to operate. Through cost-effective energy and water efficiency practices, homes experience reduced utility costs. Its durable construction and product selection help control maintenance costs. With technical and educational resources, the home reaches optimum performance.

  • Reduced Operation Costs
  • Reduced Maintenance
  • Less Waste
  • Preserved Natural Resources
  • Market Differentiation
  • Quantifiable ESG
  • Improved Tenant Satisfaction
  • Increased Property Value
  • Risk Management

For Homeowners, Occupants, and Residents

NGBS-certified homes are healthier. Attention to detail and installation of air sealing and insulation  has a positive impact on indoor air quality, not just energy efficiency. NGBS requires proper ventilation for bathrooms, clothes dryers, fireplaces, and other gas equipment, mitigating pollutants inside the building’s conditioned space. Lastly, NGBS ensures buildings with attached parking decks or garages have details to fully separate those areas from the living space including framing, air sealing, and weatherstripping.

  • Walkability
  • Reduced Maintenance
  • Improved Indoor Air Quality
  • Reduced Contaminants 
  • Sustainable Lifestyle
  • Peace of Mind

NGBS Certification Process

1. Discovery Call

We review your project plans and certification goals to create a game plan that meets your timeline and criteria.

2. Kick Off

We create a project specific NGBS scorecard with the requirements and customized credits to meet your certification and sustainability goals. We review this with the design and construction team for buy-in and to make adjustments as needed.

3. Implementation

We handle everything from there - from educating your team, to ensuring credits are properly implemented, inspected, and verified.

4. Review

We submit all the necessary paperwork and documentation, then support with any adjustments or clarifications. The entire certification review process typically takes 4 weeks.

5. Certification!

Congrats – you’re ready to tell the world about how your project is leading the change toward a more resilient built environment! We are here to support with getting the word out with data, sales team training, or creating a one-of-a-kind marketing piece.

Recent NGBS Project Samples

Chronicle Mill

  • Location: Belmont, NC
  • Developer: Armada Hoffler
  • Certification: NGBS Silver
  • NGBS Fact:  A historic mill building outside of Gastonia originally built at the turn of the century, has been restored to upscale apartments. Air infiltration, thermal boundary, and indoor air quality were the main challenges ahead of certifying the building to the National Green Building Standard.
Rendering of Link Apartments Broad Ave in Memphis, TN overlooking a colorful water tower during sunset

Link Apartments Broad Avenue

  • Location: Memphis, TN
  • Developer: Grubb Properties
  • Certification: NGBS Silver
  • NGBS Fact:  Link Broad Ave was built on an infill and greyfield lot, eliminating the need to disturb natural areas. The project is located in the Broad Avenue Arts District, bringing revitalization to a once vacant industrial area. Located in the historic commercial area of the Binghampton community of Memphis, it is home to more than 70 unique local businesses, including boutique shops, art galleries and studios, restaurants and bars.
Granite Mill before and after pictures featuring old windows and renovated interior

Lofts on Haw River

  • Location: Haw River, NC
  • Developer: D3 Development
  • Certification: NGBS Renovation Silver
  • NGBS Fact: With the historic status of Granite Mill and the property sitting vacant from the early 1990s until construction began in 2019, there were unique challenges to retrofitting the existing structure to meet modern high-performance building standards. All construction of the apartments was completed inside the existing infrastructure’s core and shell to preserve the history and aesthetics of the original buildings. Overall, based on the efficiency improvements in air infiltration, thermal boundary, and appliances and fixtures, projected electric bill savings per unit comes out to $1,291 per year! 
    Learn More 
Exterior view of entrance walkway and regionally appropriate plants at Novel Midtown Atlanta in Georgia

NOVEL Midtown Atlanta

  • Location: Atlanta, GA
  • Developer: Crescent Communities
  • Certification: NGBS Bronze, Fitwel
  • NGBS Fact: NOVEL Midtown Atlanta features building ventilation systems, high efficiency filtration, and radon mitigation system for improved indoor air quality, while continuous insulation at the roof, walls, and floor optimize energy performance. The location of NOVEL Midtown Atlanta also promotes a healthy lifestyle with nearby transit, resident bike storage, and a Walkscore of 84 (very walkable)!

FAQs and Resources

Have more questions? Our NGBS experts are happy to help!
Schedule a meeting

Certification to NGBS requires certification and verification fees. Certification fees are paid to Home Innovation Research Labs and can be found here.

Please contact us for a quote on verification fees. 

NGBS certified projects may be eligible to tap into various incentives at the federal, state, and/or local level. Here is a summary of various programs available by state: 

The timeline for achieving National Green Building Standard (NGBS) certification can vary depending on size and complexity of the project. The NGBS certification process runs parallel to the normal construction process. We work with your project team to keep the certification process on schedule and ensure we’re on site to complete verification checkpoints throughout various points of construction.  

We recommend starting as early on in the design process as possible. The Design Development phase is a sweet spot. At that time there is enough detail in the plan set to review and benchmark a project to see how it is complying or scoring with the NGBS program. And it’s early enough on in the process that changes can be made before going out to bid. 

Once a building is certified under the NGBS, that certification remains valid for the life of the building under the version of the NGBS it was certified. Like many green building certification programs, it’s important to note that NGBS criteria continuously evolves over time with new versions being released every couple of years. As such, a building that was certified under an older version of the NGBS may not meet the requirements of newer versions of the standard. 

While NGBS and LEED are both green building certification programs, they differ in areas such as minimum program requirements, verification process, documentation requirements, review process, and pricing, to name a few. In general, both certification platforms cover similar areas of assessment, including site design, water and energy efficiency, materials and resources, and indoor environmental quality.  

Download our certification comparison matrix to learn more → 

Yes, existing buildings can get NGBS Certification through a specific path designed for remodeled or renovated residential buildings. There are two pathways, whole-house or whole-building renovations, that single-family, multifamily, and mixed-use buildings can take advantage of depending on the scale of the project. 

Learn More → 

National Green Building Standard (NGBS) certification spans four levels – Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Emerald. Bronze certification, the entry level, requires compliance with mandatory measures and a certain number of optional points from a range of green building practices. Silver, Gold, and Emerald certifications require increasingly higher scoring of optional points, reflecting more advanced energy-efficient design and construction, with Emerald being the highest level of certification achievable. 

NGBS certification analyzes the green building practices of single family, multifamily, and mixed-use projects across six key areas: Indoor air quality, energy efficiency, water efficiency, resource efficiency, operation & durability, and site design & location. Within each of these categories, NGBS outlines mandatory measures and optional practices based on the project type. A minimum number of points must be reached to achieve certification.   

Here are a few examples of NGBS requirements: 

  • Indoor Air Quality: A radon mitigation system and testing is required for projects located in Radon Zone 1
  • Energy Efficiency: A continuous and fully aligned air barrier with grade 1 thermal insulation installed
  • Water Efficiency: A dedicated water meter is required for pools or spas
  • Resource Efficiency: Moisture management details including foundation, walls, fenestration, balconies, and roof
  • Operation & Durability: Operations manuals are created and distributed to the responsible parties, including training of building owners and maintenance staff regarding equipment operation and maintenance
  • Site Design: Site Design does not have a mandatory item but is the chapter where projects can earn bonus points to ensure they are meeting their desired certification level

Our in-house NGBS program team is happy to review the full scope of NGBS certification requirements with you and analyze your project to recommend a path forward for reaching your sustainability goals. Schedule a free consult

Certification Comparison Tool

This chart provides a quick overview of multifamily & commercial green building certification features, requirements, and complementary programs.
PDF Guide

Green Building Starter Guide

This quick start PDF guide covers everything you need to know to get started with green building on your next multifamily project!
PDF Guide

Ready to Get Started?

Schedule a meeting with our green building specialists to review your project goals and challenges.