Beyond Code Portal > Recognized Programs

There is a range of recognized beyond code programs available for building owners, states or cities that want to exceed the minimum code requirements. These standards promote sustainability in areas such as energy, materials, land use, water, appliances, and comfort. These standards can be voluntary or required by legislation. Below, there are links containing information on several of the most common standards and rating systems that go beyond model building codes.

ASHRAE Standard 189.1 provides minimum requirements for the siting, design, construction, and operation planning of high-performance green buildings – a guide for total building sustainability. It does not apply to single-family houses, multi-family structures of three stories or fewer above grade, or mobile or modular manufactured houses. It also does not apply to buildings that use none of the following: electricity, fossil fuel, or water.

According to an article in US Glass Magazine, the 2017 edition of ASHRAE 189.1 is on pace to be finished in the fall of 2017, when it will form the basis for the 2018 IgCC.

First published in 2009, Standard 189.1 was created through a collaborative effort involving ASHRAE, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), and the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IESNA).

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Build It Green, a Bay Area based non-profit, works with building and real estate professionals, local and state governments, and homeowners to increase awareness and adoption of green building practices. The mission is to promote healthy, energy- and resource-efficient building practices in California through outreach and education.

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EarthCraft is a voluntary regional green building program that provides a model for healthy, comfortable homes that help reduce utility bills and protect the environment. In 1999, the Greater Atlanta Home Builders Association and Southface Energy Institute developed the EarthCraft program, now serving six Southeast states (Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia).

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ENERGY STAR is one of the most well-known and widely used international standards for energy efficiency consumer products, homes, commercial buildings, and industrial plants. Created in 1992 by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Energy (DOE), this voluntary program has evolved to serve as a national platform and a catalyst to deliver real energy efficiency by addressing market barriers.

Added Value of ENERGY STAR-Labeled Commercial Buildings in the U.S. Market

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Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP)
As the nation’s largest energy consumer, the federal government has a tremendous opportunity and clear responsibility to lead by example. FEMP is central to this goal, guiding agencies to use funding more effectively in meeting federal and agency-specific energy management objectives.

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The Green Globes system is a building environmental design and management tool. It delivers an online assessment protocol, rating system, and guidance for green building design, operation, and management. It strives to provide market recognition of a building’s environmental attributes through third-party verification.

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Developed by the Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET), the Home Energy Rating System (HERS) is a tool used in green building construction, home energy auditing and certification programs. Recognized as an official verification of energy performance by DOE, HUD and EPA, it is the industry standard and a relative scale that measures a home’s performance. RESNET describes the HERS Index Score as a miles-per-gallon (MPG) sticker for houses.

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The International Green Construction Code (IgCC) is the first model code to include sustainability measures encompassing an entire project and its site – from design and construction to certificate of occupancy and beyond. This code is expected to make buildings more efficient; reduce waste; and have a positive impact on health, safety, and community welfare.

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Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards are a set of green building rating systems geared towards helping various building industry stakeholders make environmentally responsible decisions and efficiently allocate resources specific to the unique needs of a project or building type. Using third-party verification to maintain assurance and integrity, a project is designed and built using strategies aimed at achieving high performance in key areas of human health, environmental health, and operation performance.

As of October 2010, the General Services Administration (GSA) has increased its minimum requirement for new construction and substantial renovation of federally-owned facilities to LEED Gold.

Article: USGBC Wants an Environmental Label for Every Building September 15, 2009

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The Living Building Challenge is a building certification program, advocacy tool and philosophy that defines the most advanced measure of sustainability in the built environment possible today and acts to rapidly diminish the gap between current limits and the end-game positive solutions we seek.

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ICC-700 National Green Building Standard
In 2007, the International Code Council and the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) teamed up to develop a nationally-recognizable standard definition of green building through a full consensus process and receive approval from the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). The latest 2012 NGBS includes a points system for achieving higher energy efficiency milestones. The new version also overhauled the scoring for renovations and remodeling projects with two new chapters focused on existing buildings.

NGBS Celebrates 100,000th Green Certified Home March 27, 2017

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The Passive House Institute US (PHIUS) uses the Passivhaus standard, which dates back to Germany at the end of the 1980s. Passive building seeks to create structures with the smallest possible ecological footprint through the maxim maximize your gains, minimize your losses.

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This page was last modified on: March 29, 2017