Shades of green

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Green Globes vs. LEED rating system

When building owners want to reduce their environmental impact and obtain certification from an independent source, they usually seek a LEED Certification. But there is a rival green-building option, Green Globes, gaining more attention.

The Green Globes is a rating system owned by the Green Building Initiative in USA. GBI is an accredited standards developer under the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).

Either certification should mean a reduction in  energy and water use, lower carbon emissions and other eco-benefits; here are some differences between the two systems:

  • LEED is a web document based certification. A fair amount of documents must be submitted for approval through the length of the Design and Construction phases and require expert knowledge in various areas. Green Globes uses a web based online questionnaire. It is very simple and it helps users to evaluate their systems based on the amount of applicable points in the seven categories supplemented by a third party verifier. This is less time intensive than The LEED process.
  • Green Globes doesn’t have pre-requisites, threshold limits, or minimum performance requirements. LEED has a less subjective and more transparent process.
  • LEED is considerably more popular than Green Globes; more than 12,000 projects have been certified around the world since its introduction 20 years ago. However, a growing number of projects are using Green Globes to certify their buildings including Governmental Agencies. Since its introduction in 2004, more than 2,000 projects have been certified in Canada and USA, and the majority of them in the last 4 or 5 years.
  • Green Globes has free associate membership, no appeal costs, and fewer registration costs. It also reduces the costs of billable hours for LEED consultants on documentation. Therefore, it is possible to certify under Green Globes for a lower cost than under LEED.

For us, the building users, the differences don’t matter if the goals of both rating systems are the same. They both attempt to deliver better, more sustainable buildings. Buildings that are thoughtfully designed after considering energy conservation, site orientation, day lighting, indoor air quality, material safety, and other factors. Isn’t that what we should ask for at the end of the day? For a better, friendlier, high quality indoor place to work?


Article by Mariela Viloria, Lead Estimator

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