LEED vs. NGBS

A fellow member of AIA Cincinnati’s Committee on the Environment just finished working on a very detailed comparison of the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) for Homes Rating System and the National Association of Home Builder’s National Green Building Standard (NGBS). The impetus for this study was a forward-thinking incentive program offered by the City of Cincinnati that gives a 100% tax abatement to buildings that achieve LEED Certification. The local NAHB chapter would like the tax abatement extended to cover NGBS certification as well, so the city’s Office of Environmental Quality commissioned the study to be performed by members of AIA Cincinnati. This comparative study looks at the requirements and rigor of each rating system, the verification and testing requirements involved and even the cost of each certification.

The analysis makes it very clear that the two rating systems are substantially similar in their requirements as well as their means and methods for compliance verification. There are, of course, some minor differences, but overall, both rating systems are comparably rigorous. The one major difference between the two systems that the study revealed was the requirement to meet Energy Star performance and testing that is built in to the LEED Rating System. The NGBS takes a less stringent approach to verifying energy performance relying more on energy modeling than site verification. The final recommendation of the study was that NGBS Certification should be an acceptable rating systems for attaining the tax abatement if it is used in conjunction with an Energy Star Label.

Click here to read the full final report or download a PowerPoint presentation about the study.

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