Following the construction industry and related legal topics in the United States.

Tuesday, December 5, 2006

Another Sustainable Rating System

With many of my recent posts focused on LEED certification, many readers may think that LEED is the only sustainable rating system available in the U.S. market. In fact, there are at least four other programs available: Green Globes, BREEAM (a British system), CASBEE (a Japanese system), and GBTool (an international system). Of these four, Green Globes appears to a promising up and comer in the U.S. market.

Green Globes is an online building and management sustainability audit launched last year in the U.S. by the Green Building Initiative. The rating system is being vetted by the building community for its potential as either an alternative to LEED or as an adjunct to the LEED certification program.

New York describes the system:

The Web-based Green Globes system is designed as an interactive tool with eight questionnaires covering project stages from initiation to commissioning. Within each stage, the system groups questions into seven environmental performance categories, while also supplying reports that offer suggestions to users for enhancing the sustainability of a project.
The two systems have similarities. "Green Globes allows projects to earn points, with ratings determined by the percentage of points earned. Green Globes is based on a 1,000-point scale, and users can gain one to four 'globes' for levels of certification that would be roughly equivalent to the four rating categories of LEED."

But Green Globes differentiates itself in several respects. "Green Globes...doesn't require project teams to produce specialized documentation, but instead relies primarily on standard construction documents and onsite verification." It also "incorporates credits for 'life cycle analysis,' a methodology of assessing long-range environmental 'costs' of a particular product by accounting for resource and energy consumption and waste accumulation, among other factors." Perhaps most intriguing, Green Globe is available as a non-certification tool that can be used to quickly assess a project.

Green Globes has already been approved as a sustainable rating system by six states.


Blogger smiller said...

Battle of the greens
A rival to the popular LEED program emerges
Portland Business Journal - May 4, 2007by Wendy CulverwellBusiness Journal staff writer

A young Portland company aims to break the monopoly the powerful U.S. Green Building Council wields when it comes to certifying sustainable buildings.

Lake Oswego-based Green Building Initiative, a nonprofit formed in 2004 with money from the timber industry, is bringing a popular Canadian sustainability program to America. Green Globes, as the Canadian program is known, is that nation's equivalent to the U.S. Green Building Council's prestigious Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program, or LEED, which has become the de facto domestic "green" building standard.

Green Building's leaders argue that the U.S. edition of Green Globes is Web-based, interactive and inexpensive when compared with LEED certification. They claim LEED certification is a challenging undertaking that requires a commitment of both money and time to complete.

"We believe there needed to be some rating systems out there that were easy to use and affordable and would attract the attention of builders," said Ward Hubbell, president of GBI.

Hubbell and his team enjoy casting Green Globes in the role of hipster, implying that LEED is stodgy and cumbersome. At the same time, GBI says it admires LEED and simply wants to bring a new, easy-to-use set of interactive tools to the green-building movement.

"There is room in the marketplace for lots of players," he said.

Still, LEED casts a giant shadow over any incursion into the sustainability movement.

Countless cities, counties and states have adopted LEED standards as their own. In Portland any construction involving public funds must be designed to LEED's "silver" level, the third-highest of the four LEED levels.

In Oregon, builders whose projects qualify at the LEED silver level (or higher) are eligible for tax credits from the state that help offset the added cost.

Officially, the U.S. Green Building Council takes no position on GBI and its Green Globes. But it points out that the U.S. General Services Administration, landlord to the federal government, rejected Green Globes when it studied ratings systems.

The entire story can be read at:

1:22 AM  

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