As discussed, this will go through the NGBS Scoring tool. You’ll be able to get a better understanding over the next several posts as to how the NGBS tools works, some of the technical aspects of entering data, and how best to prepare.
Today, we head through Chapter 5 of the tool. Later, I’ll describe what is in Chapters 1-4, but those are overview chapters with the actual scoring information is in chapters 5-10. This chapter is focused on: Lot Design, Preparation, and Development. The chapter deals with the dirt, the location, and use of the land. You enter information that deals with sustainability and energy topics that should be considered while the property is still in its natural state.
For instance, site design principles such as saving trees, constructing onsite storm water retention/infiltration features, and orienting houses to maximize passive solar heating and cooling are basic processes used in the design and construction of green homes.
Scoring for Chapter 5 is very straight-forward. In order to meet your goal for NGBS, you need to meet the minimum in each category. In my case, I’m shooting for a Gold on this project, so the goal is to get at least 93 points in Chapter 5.
Each section in a chapter is separated into sub-categories. For chapter 5, the following categories will be scored:
- Lot information and access to Mass Transportation
- Natural Resources, Slope Disturbance, Storm Water Mgt.
- Landscape and Wildlife Plans
- Density, Mixed Use Development, Environmental Sensitivity
- Supervision, Trees, and Soils plans
- Driveway, Parking, and Heat Island Mitigation
Each sub-section of the scoring is then walked through, giving you the opportunity to add points towards the total. The section for 501.2 (Mass Transportation) is below. Each arrow is marked below.
A= This is where in the tool you are. Since there are multiple sections, I’ve found that keeping an eye on where I’m at lets me gauge progress and make sure I don’t get lost.
B= This is the Chapter head that we are working on now, and provides and overview of what is required. In this case, I’m being asked if the property is within 1/2 mile of picking up mass transit.
C= This is an important field to keep your notes and add comments. Both your verifier as well as the NGBS team can see what your assumptions are.
D= I use this “How to Verify” link all the time. It allows me to access more details and dictates what documentation I’m required to have to prove this. In this case, a map showing mass transportation in relationship to the property is required and easy to provide.
E= This is the most important part of the system. This is where it specifies how many points are possible and lets me check the box to claim these 3 points. I will be showing more of these type of screens in the next posts to describe examples of attributes.
At the bottom of each screen in the system, are two very nice tools which allow you to see your running total. It is similar to personal tax preparation software packages I’ve used that show you a “How much refund you’re getting” as you go through. This is the same concept for the chapter, as well as the project.
This “Project Status” view is excellent for showing where I’m in relation to the overall certification. In total, I’m at 97 points. 558 are required for Gold, but I’ve not yet started chapters 6-10. Many more points are coming.
Also, don’t forget that I’ll need an extra 100 points spread across all the chapters. I’ve got 4 extra points for Chapter 5 and if I can’t make any up in 6-10, I might need to come back and adjust plans to meet.
If you’re still reading this far down into the post, I want to make sure one thing is very understood. You simply can’t start too early in the life of a project when getting points. Here is the situation I ran into. On the subject property, there was a very old tree that was unsafe, right in the middle of the property and had to be removed. The developer had it taken down and carted away. This was done 3 months before decisions about NGBS were being made. If, during the removal of the tree, the arborist would have provided documentation where the tree was going, and if recycling was included, I could have received another 3 points in this section. Just asking and getting proof was all it took.
More to come on Chapter 6. Love to hear your comments.