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Third-party certification adds credibility to any green building.

The process of achieving certification also adds a layer of accountability and integrity for the building project team. While a space can certainly be green and high-performing if it is not certified, there are several tangible benefits that accompany certification that cannot be as easily attained without it.

Benefits include:

  • Higher rental or resale value
  • Higher occupant and tenant satisfaction
  • Higher worker productivity and pride of place
  • Lower operating costs
  • Local and national recognition opportunities
Every project, team and budget will consider a variety of different delivery and verification methods for their high-performance space; however, anyone working on a green building project should review the following certification options, benefits, requirements, considerations, costs and codes.  

Below is a list of the recognized green building rating systems, certifications and standards in the market. 


Green Building Rating Systems 

LEED CertificationLEED:  LEADERSHIP IN ENERGY & ENVIRONMENTAL DESIGN

Developed by and established in 1998 by USGBC, Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) has transformed the way we think about how our buildings and communities are designed, constructed, maintained and operated across the globe.  (National and International; All building types)


Living Building Challenge

LIVING BUILDING CHALLENGE

The Living Building Challenge (LBC) is a philosophy, advocacy platform, and certification program that promotes a very high building standard linked to net zero energy, net zero water, beauty, and more. (National and International; All building types)


GREEN GLOBES

The Green Globes system was based on the Building Research Establishment’s Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM) by the Canadian Standards Association. (National; Some building types)


ENVIRONMENTS FOR LIVING

Environments for Living is a green building program developed by Masco Contractor Services, a building products and services company. The program focuses on energy efficiency, durability, indoor environmental quality and water efficiency.  (National; Residential)


GREEN COMMUNITIES 

Green Communities provides funding and guidance to affordable housing developers to build and rehabilitate homes that are healthier, more energy-efficient and better for the environment. Enterprise Community Partners, a national nonprofit that focuses on community development and affordable housing, sponsors the program. 
(National; Residential and Affordable)


NGBS

NAHB NATIONAL GREEN BUILDING STANDARD

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and the International Code Council (ICC) partnered to establish a nationally recognized standard definition of green building for homes. (National; Residential)



STAR COMMUNITIES

STAR Communities provides a robust set of programs and services to meet diverse community needs. They also assist nonprofits, universities, businesses and other institutions engaged in local sustainability. STAR can be used as a standalone framework for local sustainability, and it is also a management tool and certification program. (National; Community)


FLORIDA GREEN BUILDING COALITION

The Florida Green Building Coalition offers green building standards for commercial buildings, community developments, residential high rises, homes and local governments in Florida. (Florida; Some building types)


Other Specialized Standards


FLORIDA WATER STAR

Florida Water StarSM is a water conservation certification program for new and existing homes and commercial developments. Standards and guidelines for water efficiency are included for Indoor fixtures and appliances, landscape design and irrigation systems.  The program was developed by the St. Johns River Water Management District in 2006 and became a statewide program in 2012.

 


energy star

ENERGY STAR FOR BUILDINGS

ENERY STAR was originally developed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a voluntary labeling program to promote energy-efficient products and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  (National; All building types)


well building


WELL BUILDING STANDARD

The WELL Building Standard focuses on the health and wellness impacts that buildings have on occupants.  Areas of concentration are air, water, nourishment, light, fitness, comfort, and mind. (National; All building types)


Passive House Certification


PASSIVE HOUSE

The Passivhaus standard was developed in Germany in the early 1990s and the first dwellings to be completed to the Passivhaus Standard were constructed in Darmstadt in 1991.  (National and International; Mostly residential)


Net Zero Energy Building


NZEB:  NET ZERO ENERGY BUILDING

The Net Zero Energy Building (NZEB) certification is also petal achievement under the holistic Living Building Challenge; both are administered by The International Living Future Institute (ILFI). (International; All building types)


boma - 11 stanwix

BOMA 360 PERFORMANCE PROGRAM

The BOMA 360 Performance Program awards buildings that meet industry best practices in building management and operations — from by Building Owners and Managers Association International(National; Most building types)



HERS

HERS:  HOME ENERGY RATING SYSTEM

The Home Energy Rating System (HERS) is an evaluation of energy efficiency and forecasted energy costs within a home.  (National; Residential)





BUILDING AMERICA BUILDERS CHALLENGE

The Building America Builders Challenge is a voluntary program from the Department of Energy intended for builders constructing
homes with a focus on energy efficiency. 
(National; Residential)


EPA INDOOR AIRPLUS

The EPA created Indoor airPLUS to help consumers identify homes that have good indoor air quality, a distinction that is especially useful for individuals with asthma, allergies and other breathing issues. Indoor airPLUS qualified homes have features that protect homes from moisture, mold, combustion gases and other pollutants.  (National; Residential)


epa WATERSENSE

WaterSense, a partnership program sponsored by the EPA, is intended to save water and protect the environment.  (National; All Building Types)



“Being passionate about the built environment is one thing. Being passionate about healthcare is another. How the two combine, I found to be an incredibly synergistic and complimentary place. Healthcare facilities are the most resource consuming structures that exist. It is both, costly for most involved but mainly care providers, and largely impactful on the environment – built and natural. Neither are always or even often, beneficial. Serving on the board of the USGBC council enables me to give back in ways most may not think of, but in ways that have proven to be profound to the healthcare, design, engineering and construction industries, and the people I aim to serve within them.”

- Jessica Robin Bellman

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