Green Globes doesn’t use prerequisites
or minimum performance requirements,
but does integrate life-cycle thinking.
Documentation can be completed by any
team member and doesn’t require the input
of technical experts. Points are awarded for
implementing strategies as well as for outcomes, whereas LEED primarily allocates
points for performance levels. GBI has free
membership, no appeal costs, and low certification costs. But this software-driven
system is time-consuming and documen-tation-intensive, and a third-party Green
Globes verifier is required.
Green Globes certification is gaining
traction in the U.S. and starting to compete
with LEED in popularity.
For a greener conscience
For those wanting simply to lessen environmental impact and generally try to be
better citizens of Earth, numerous other
certification programs may be worth a look.
State- or city-specific green programs can
be a convenient, affordable, and effective
way of obtaining guidance, benchmarking,
certification, or in some cases, incentives for
green building practices. Programs like The
Florida Green Building Coalition, Chicago
Green Homes Program, and EarthCraft
House (for Atlanta) provide local incen-
tives, guidelines, accessible advisors, and
streamlined documentation processes. The
Stop Waste program in San Francisco offers
programs for source waste reduction,
recycling, and construction waste man-
agement. Portland’s Green Investment
Fund (GIF) offers a yearly grant of up to
$425,000 toward innovative approaches
to waste reduction, water conservation,
stormwater management, energy conser-
vation, and renewable energy generation.
Newer systems are being introduced into
the U. S. that may offer more useful options:
• The Building Research Environmental
Assessment Method (BREEAM) has a long
track record in the U.K.
• Comprehensive Assessment System
for Building Environmental Efficiency
(CASBEE) was developed from a Japanese
self-assessment system to identify ways to
increase a building’s environmental efficiency value.
• Sustainable Building Tool (SB Tool, formerly GBTool) is a software system developed in Canada for the international Green
Building Challenge, designed for flexibility to adjust benchmarks to accommodate
If saving the planet is your actual goal,
consider the Living Building Challenge,
founded in 2006 by the International
Living Future Institute. This nonprofit
organization describes itself as “a philos-
ophy, advocacy, and certification program
that promotes the most advanced measure-
ment of sustainability in the built envi-
ronment.” With goals like car-free living,
net-zero energy use, and biophilia as part
of a program consisting entirely of prereq-
uisites, and certification granted only after
12 consecutive months of compliant opera-
tion, this is definitely the gold standard for
green. Less than 1% of all LEED buildings
would qualify for Living Building status.
As of press time, a mere five buildings have
achieved this certification.
So what is your ultimate goal for pursuing green certification? Compliance with
popular rating systems may provide stability in market value if you have the staff and
money to pursue them, but if your focus is
a genuine desire to lessen the environmental impact of building, there are options
for every budget and patience level. Small
achievable steps usually make more lasting positive change than do attempts at
epic leaps, and they may ultimately move
the country closer to green building—and
living—as our everyday standard.
DeAnn Campbell, B.Arch,
LEED AP, Deann.Campbell@
millerzell.com, (404) 691-
7400, is an account manager
with Miller Zell. She serves
on the company’s internal Green Team.
Green Globes is gaining traction. This A.R.E. Sustainability Award-winning Pacific Collections store
in Long Beach, Calif., boasts three Green Globes, the second-highest level of the system.
Green Globes www.greenglobes.com
Portland Green Investment Fund
Living Building Challenge
Whole Building Design Guide
Green Building Information Gateway