Healthier Homes from Floor to Ceiling

Filed in Codes and Regulations, Home Building, Multifamily by on September 13, 2016 1 Comment

ngbs coverThe ICC/ASHRAE 700-2015 National Green Building Standard (NGBS) was released in March. This post is the seventh in a series of eight that will examine 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 Indoor Environmental Quality.

The Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ) category focuses on a variety of indoor building practices, including the reduction of pollutants from space heating and water heating systems, garages, cabinets, carpets, architectural coatings, sealants, and other sources.

This category resonates with home buyers, as found in What Green Means to Home Buyers: Perceptions and Preferences, with one of every four individuals surveyed ranking “healthy indoor living environment” as being the single most important attribute considered when making the decision to purchase or remodel a home.

Updates within this category include:

  • The installation of carbon monoxide alarms is now mandatory for all buildings in accordance with International Residential Code Section R315, regardless of level of certification or local code requirements.
  • Previously separate “Carpet” and “Hard-Surface Flooring” sections have been combined into a new “Floor Materials” section, reducing the maximum number of points achievable for having green flooring materials. This pushes projects to find additional points in other sections and develop a broader IAQ strategy.
  • Points can be achieved now for fenestration in spaces other than kitchen, bathroom and laundry rooms which are designed to allow for stack effect or cross-ventilation. These fenestrations must:
    • Be operable with a total area of at least 15% of the conditioned floor area
    • Have insect screens
    • Include at least two operable windows or sliding glass doors placed in adjacent or opposite walls
  • The installation of MERV filter 14 garners an additional point, but requires verification that the HVAC equipment can accommodate the greater pressure drop.
  • Points can now be earned if IAQ control measures (listed in the standard) are implemented during construction. Additional points can be earned if post-construction verification of indoor air quality is completed.
  • Listed and labeled condensing ductless dryers are not required to be vented to the outdoors.

Stay tuned for next week’s post on the updates to the Operation, Maintenance, and Building Owner Education Category, the sixth category involved in the certification of single-family and multifamily homes.

Download the standard for free or purchase a hard copy. To learn more about certifying your project, visit the Home Innovation Research Labs.

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  1. And take a moment to learn about Wellness Within Your Walls! This organization is working with the Leading Suppliers Council to educate our industry about environmental benefits inside our homes!
    ONwards and UPwards!

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