Educating Home Owners to Make Sustainability Stick

ngbs coverThe ICC/ASHRAE 700-2015 National Green Building Standard (NGBS) was released in March. This post is the eighth and final post in a series that examines 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 Operation, Maintenance, and Building Owner Education.

The operation and maintenance of a home is equally as important as its design and construction when it comes to long-term sustainability. Home builders can provide the tools, but without the knowledge of best practices, these tools can provide inefficient results and their positive environmental qualities can be lost.

The updated Operation, Maintenance, and Building Owner Education category focuses on providing increased technical and educational resources so that home owners can make environmentally responsible choices as they operate and maintain their residences.

Specific updates within this category include:

  • A new section on Public Education. The intent is to increase public awareness of projects constructed in accordance with the NGBS and help increase demand for high-performance homes.
  • A new section on Post Occupancy Performance Assessment. This section is designed to help determine if energy and/or water usage has deviated from the expected levels so that inspections and corrections can be taken.
  • Any points awarded for providing extended Home Owners, Operations, Maintenance, and Building Construction manuals can now only be earned by including optional items. Mandatory items (such as maintenance instructions for all fixtures, appliances, finishes and equipment, for example) no longer offer additional points.
  • In addition to providing manuals, first-hand training of home and building owners on O&M and best practices is now required, including but not limited to:
    • HVAC filter maintenance
    • Thermostat programming and controls
    • Lighting controls
    • Appliance operations and maintenance
    • Water heater settings and hot water use
    • Fan controls
    • Recycling and composting practices

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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