Benefit from Sustainable Features with a Green Globes Certification!
Green Globes was created to be a practical and flexible tool applicable to any building regardless of size, type, or budget. There are many benefits to achieving even just one Green Globe.
Once your Green Globes Professional has completed the initial survey, the Green Globes Assessor process begins. This involves an Assessor assigned to the project by the Green Building Initiative (GBI), who reviews and conducts an onsite walk through of the building and grounds. The project Assessor is accompanied by the property manager, design team representative, and in many cases the construction manager. A follow up meeting is often conducted to discuss the Green Globes process, and the key points of the assessment, which will create the final report and Green Globes certification.
While some buildings get by with only 35 or 36% of applicable points out of the initial 1000 (35% is the minimum), only the truly advanced buildings earn Three or Four Green Globes. This higher rating is what a leader in sustainability strives for, and those that get there typically work very hard to achieve Three or Four Green Globes. In fact, a net zero building outside of Chicago achieved both Three Green Globes and LEED Platinum.
Some buildings earn certification with only 35 or 36% of applicable points out of the initial 1000 but benefit from a customized report that details opportunities to improve the building – Alexander Pointe Apartments, Mebane, NC – One Green Globe –
Projects that achieve One Green Globe demonstrate a commitment to environmental efficiency practices. The process of achieving One Green Globes often provides incentive to building owners and designers to improve practices to take projects to the next level of demonstrating excellent progress in the reduction of environmental impacts and use of environmental efficiency practices.
Environmental Assessment Areas:
Regardless of the number of Green Globes that a project achieves the process remains the same and the following areas are questioned and documented:
Project Management: Collaborative meetings with stakeholders and influencers such as key design and construction personnel should be held as early as possible in the design process, and continue through building occupancy. This benefits in your planning and creating a raised awareness of aspects that improve building performance and outcome.
Site: Review the effected development area. Is it urban infill or suburban sprawl? Are there greenfields, brownfields or floodplains effected? Site criteria also deals with connections to other sites, walkability, storm water management, landscaping, water use and exterior light pollution.
Energy: The single highest environmental assessment area of the Green Globes certification metric is energy use and conservation achieved through equipment selection and building performance. They are critical aspects in determining the sustainability of a facility. To ensure that the building continues to operate at the optimum level, continual monitoring and tracking of energy performance is essential. The use of an energy model is encouraged as a tool to not only identify the systems that provide the highest payback, but also as a tool to evaluate value engineering and how suggested substitutions flow through to the long-term bottom line.
Water: Green Globes addresses water consumption including whole building performance and prescriptively water conserving features, water treatment, alternative sources of water, metering and sub-metering, and irrigation design.
Materials & Resources: A significant aspect of sustainability that could be expanded and evaluated to a greater degree is the use of life cycle assessment (LCA). The opportunity to earn points for education and knowledge on the inputs and outputs required for various structural and interior materials from extraction through to delivery is too often overlooked by building teams. An LCA is considered the most reliable way to calculate and compare the cradle-to-grave environmental effects of common building materials. The use of LCA tools is encouraged by Green Globes. Also, Green Globes certification encourages a evaluation of how long building components will last and what alternatives there are to provide greater durability, higher returns and less waste.
Emissions: There are two paths for assessing heating; district heating or low emission boilers and furnaces. The cooling section includes review of refrigerants, specifically the ozone depleting potential (ODP), the global warming potential (GWP) and Green Chill best practices regarding leak detection. The Emissions environmental assessment area also addresses storage for hazardous materials.
Indoor Environment: Green Globes reviews the ventilation; air quality, air exchange intakes and exhausts, source control and the measurement of indoor pollutants including VOCs, fungus, mold, CO2, tobacco, and radon. Also, covered in this section is the use of an integrated pest management strategy, lighting design, and thermal and acoustic comfort.
Vicki Worden, President & CEO of GBI says, “It’s true, that every building can incorporate sustainable features and benefit from the Green Globes customized report for planning the next round of capital improvements. That does make Green Globes unique because it’s about inclusivity – every building has room for improvement. But there is a definite difference in achievement for the leaders of the pack.”
Barbara A.W. Clarke, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, Green Globes Professional, Green Globes Assessor
Director of Sustainability