The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) this week approved the National Green Building Standard, making it the only green certification program to receive the endorsement.

The National Green Building Standard is a joint effort of the NAHB and the ICC that expands on the original NAHB Model Green Home Building Guidelines and adds lot and site development, multifamily, and remodeling applications. The endorsement lends credibility to the Standard, which requires builders seeking certification to use practices and products that promote water, resource and energy efficiency, indoor air quality, and homeowner education. Homes can achieve emerald, gold, silver, or bronze-level certifications.

ANSI approval elevates the Standard to the level of the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED for Homes standard, says Fort Worth, Texas, custom builder Don Ferrier, who serves on the NAHB subcommittee that oversees the standard and who has constructed LEED-certified houses.

Because ANSI, NAHB, and the ICC worked with a consensus committee to deliberate the content for more than a year, the approved standard is “not just NAHB coming up and saying, ‘We think this is green,’” adds Ferrier. “It’s three independent organizations coming together.”

He notes that NAHB’s green guidelines had been criticized as “easier and lighter” than LEED for Homes, partly because the program is overseen by the NAHB Research Center. The ANSI endorsement, he notes, “really levels the playing field.”

The approval adds a layer of reassurance for home buyers as well, says NAHB Chairman Joe Robson, a Tulsa, Okla., homebuilder. Ferrier agrees that builders who achieve the standards and earn certifications bring potential clients “a comfort level that gets them to sign” with the builder. “It proves to people that we know what we’re doing.”

Ferrier, whose Ferrier Custom Homes built the first LEED-certified home in Texas, also follows the National Green Building Standard. He calls the two programs “without a shadow of a doubt the two most stringent green building programs that are available.”

ANSI oversees the creation, promulgation, and use of thousands of norms and guidelines for nearly every business sector. The institute’s endorsement covers all residential construction, including single-family homes, apartments, condos, land development, and remodeling and renovation.