Upgraded Green Globes Certification Program Now Is Based on ANSI Standard

The Green Building Initiative (GBI) has announced the release of the most significant upgrade to the Green Globes for New Construction (NC) program since it first became available in the U.S. in 2006. Green Globes is a web-based program for green-building guidance and certification that includes an onsite assessment by a certified third party. The program is a user-friendly and affordable alternative to LEED used to advance the overall environmental performance and sustainability of commercial buildings.

Green Globes NC is now based on an ANSI standard, ANSI/GBI 01-2010: Green Building Assessment Protocol for Commercial Buildings. The standard was developed using an ANSI-approved consensus process involving stakeholders from across the building sustainability industry. For federal agencies, the program now includes the ability to assess and certify new construction and major renovations of federal buildings for compliance with the Guiding Principles as required by Executive Order 13514 signed in 2009.

“In addition to utilizing the ANSI standard, Green Globes received major enhancements to all seven assessment areas led by those covering Energy and Materials & Resources,” says Sharene Rekow, GBI vice president of Business Development. “The program uses advanced building science which will result in higher performing buildings.”

A free white paper provides detail on the updated program. Energy performance assessment has been enhanced by allowing users to choose between four paths. Three of these are known to the building industry: Energy Star, ASHRAE Building Performance Method, and ASHRAE Building Energy Quotient. The fourth, developed within the ANSI process, is an operational energy approach that uses carbon dioxide equivalency (CO2e) as the basis for its calculations and captures energy performance through the entire cycle of energy consumption from source production and generation to building consumption.

Bonus points have been introduced for buildings that obtain the highest levels of energy performance, such as zero net energy or 51 percent plus reduction in CO2e emissions. The Materials & Resources section introduces a more sustainable and innovative methodology for the selection and specification of products based upon multiple attributes. This is a more rigorous approach that replaces the outdated and less thorough single-attribute assessment method. This new approach focuses on full life-cycle assessment , multi-attribute certifications, and third-party certified Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs).

In the U.S., Green Globes incorporates the recently enhanced Athena Impact Estimator, an online LCA tool that allows the designer to build assemblies specific to their project, receive LCA rating feedback and efficiently perform comparisons, leading to an optimized LCA outcome. Each individual material type is evaluated and benchmarked against five major indicator criteria: Embodied Energy, Global Warming Potential, and Effect on Land, Air and Water. By providing options, Green Globes offers users the opportunity to select structure, envelope and interior fit-out materials and products that provide the least environmental impact.

“While making a major improvement in the building science used by Green Globes, we kept the unique program attributes that have made Green Globes the choice of an increasing number of sustainability professionals … the web-based survey, the transparent process, the live customer support, the onsite assessment, and the written and in-person feedback for improvement ” Rekow says.

“Professionals will be impressed by the ease of use of the online Green Globes evaluation system and by the overall program flexibility and adaptability,” adds Craig Riley, regional business line leader, Sustainability at URS Corp. The GBI provides customer service to guide users through the process. Each project is assigned a certified third-party assessor who is available to answer questions regarding greening strategies during the design and construction process at no additional cost. At the completion of the project, the assessor performs an onsite final evaluation of each project. Based on this evaluation, a building is awarded one to four Green Globes according to the points earned in the certification process.

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