ecobeco’s co-founders Brian Toll and Reuven Walder visited the Home Innovation Research Lab in Upper Marlboro, Maryland. The lab provides product testing and certifications, and are responsible for the National Green Building Standard. They also do market research, study the effects of new products on building practices, and advise on building codes. The labs were founded by the National Association of Home Builders, but is now a distinct company.
During our visit, we toured their incredible test site. Featuring a house that gets built / knocked down / rebuilt over and over, this house is used to develop time trials that help contractors understand the complexity of installing one product versus another. They bring in crews of varying skill levels, time the installation of wall systems, doors, windows, roofing, exteriors, etc., and provide the results in product usability reports.
Materials can be tested against hot and cold elements to test durability. In the photo, we are standing in front of the world’s largest heat transfer tester, which tests the R-value of materals and wall systems (by heating the entire room, not just the box in the center).
New homes in Montgomery County, MD must meet the National Green Building Standard (which is also known as ICC/ASHRAE Standard 700-2015). This standard describes site design, lot design, material quality (and waste management), energy conservation, indoor environmental quality, water efficiency, and homeowner education.
Thus, when ecobeco builds a Zero Energy Ready Home, which incorporates the DOE EnergyStar and EPA’s Indoor airPlus standards, we create a structure that exceeds the NGBS in only a few of the required areas. NGBS’s emphasis on land/lot preparation and managing materials and waste adds important dimensions for a comprehensively healthy home.
Learn more about Home Innovation Research Labs here.
Learn about the National Green Building Standard for your new home here.