Skip to main content

Green Building Standard Update

Last week, the Window & Door Manufacturers Association hosted its annual Technical and Manufacturing Conference online. Presentations spanned a number of relevant topics, including an analysis of the newly released WDMA Market Study, and updates about programs, codes standards and certifications.   

In one of the sessions, Michelle Foster, VP, sustainability for Home Innovation Research Labs, provided an update on the 2020 National Green Building Standard. For those unfamiliar, the NGBS is a voluntary above code green certification program and is part of the ICC suite of I Codes. It offers alternative compliance for the IgCC.   

Registration for the latest 2020 NGBS opened in mid-April and includes many revisions, including an expanded scope and definition of “residential,” as well as entirely new updates for homes, townhouses and duplexes. Foster stressed that the program offers rigor and flexibility. “While it's rigorous in compliance,” she said, “there are a lot of ways [for builders] to gain points. They have more choices depending on the needs of the building.” 

There were three big changes or new inclusions most relevant to the residential fenestration space:   

  • Chapter 6, Resource Efficiency, contains significant changes and, among other new attributes, new sections on product declarations and resilient construction. Points are awarded for design and construction practices that “enhance the resilience and durability of the structure.”   
  • Chapter 11, which wholly contains all of the certification requirements for remodeling projects, now provides for both a prescriptive and performance path to certification. This, according to WDMA conference participants, may open up new opportunities for fenestration manufacturers.   
  • Chapter 12 of the NGBS offers a new certification level exclusively for single family homes, townhouses and duplexes. The certification is binary; there are not multiple levels as there are for other NGBS certifications but rather a project is certified or isn’t. All of the practices are mandatory and, according to Foster, focus on the most impactful green measures, which she defined in the categories of energy and water efficiency, moisture and mold management, and indoor environmental quality.   

A handout from the session noted that window and door products can contribute toward homes and multifamily buildings meeting air leakage and UA requirements in the Energy Efficiency chapter. Also, WDMA noted that it is updating product category rules that will apply to some of the requirements outlined in the Chapter 6.   

For more information on the 2020 NGBS, visit and/or go to


Emily Katy Thompson

Emily Kay Thompson

Emily Kay Thompson is associate publisher of Window + Door,, and W+Dweekly. Contact her at