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Green Globes: Gunning for LEED

For many sustainability professionals, “green building certification” equals “LEED.” Green Globes wants to change that.

The online assessment and rating tool has undergone several transformations in its lifetime, starting as the BREEAM Canada for Existing Buildings standard and moving to something more like its current form in 2000. Green Globes now offers assessment tools for new buildings, existing buildings, building intelligence, fit-up and building emergency management.

The Canadian federal government has adopted the system for all its real estate, and while Green Globes has been an option in the US since 2006, it’s overshadowed by its USGBC-run rival. Now Green Globes’ US administrator, the Green Building Initiative, has taken its system for new construction to the next stage, aligning it to an ANSI standard, ANSI/GBI 01-2010: Green Building Assessment Protocol for Commercial Buildings. The GBI says it has also made changes to all seven of the standard’s assessment areas.

Will that kick-start Green Globes adoption in the US? Perhaps. But the GBI may have just missed its chance at the biggest prize of all: the US federal government. Some trade groups have been urging the feds to ditch LEED, and in May 2012, a report from federal landlord the General Services Administration found that Green Globes met federal new construction requirements better than LEED, though LEED was still best for existing buildings. But this spring, an official advisory committee recommended that the federal government continue to use the more popular system as its main green building standard. The secretaries of energy and defense have yet to make a final decision.

Tamar Wilner is Senior Editor at Environmental Leader PRO.

Correction: Green Globes has been available in the US since 2006, not 1996 as previously stated.

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