In a big win for the Green Building Initiative’s Green Globes certification program, the US General Services Administration (GSA) on Friday recommended the federal government use either the Green Globes or US Green Building Council’s LEED to gauge environmental performance in its construction and renovation projects.
The GSA previously required LEED for its own buildings and recommended LEED for other agencies’ buildings.
While the GSA will continue to use LEED for new construction, major modernization projects and existing buildings, spokesman Dan Cruz says, it recommends other federal agencies choose one of the two certification systems.
Federal law requires the GSA to issue a recommendation to the Department of Energy on how the government can best use certification systems to measure the design and performance of the federal government’s construction and major renovation projects.
After reviewing various third-party green building certification systems and seeking input from the public, industry stakeholders and sustainability experts, the GSA says two tools — LEED and Green Globes — allow federal agencies to measure reduction targets for water, energy, and greenhouse gas emissions against industry standards. It recommends agencies use one of the two certification systems that best meet their building portfolios, which range from office buildings, to laboratories, to hospitals, to airplane hangars.
When asked about the switch from the LEED-only stance, Cruz said the GSA is responding to the evolving green building market.
“When GSA made its first statutorily required recommendations in 2006 and 2008, there were very few green building certification systems in the marketplace,” Cruz told Environmental Leader. “The market has changed since then and there are additional tools for green building certification systems. In addition, the market is evolving much more rapidly, and as such, GSA believes more frequent reviews of certification systems is important in order to keep up with the latest green building tools that the market has to offer.”
Also, under Friday’s recommendation, GSA will conduct more regular green building tool reviews.
While the Canadian federal government has adopted the system for all its real estate, and Green Globes has been an option in the US since 1996, it’s long been overshadowed by its USGBC-run rival.
In June, Green Globes’ US administrator, the Green Building Initiative, took 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.