Luncheon Recap: LEED & Green Globes – Which is Right for You?

If you missed the June luncheon, you missed a great presentation by Wayne Robertson, PE, LEED AP from Energy ACE. Wayne surveyed the room for those of us familiar with LEED. Most hands in the room were raised. He then asked who was familiar with Green Globes. Only a few hands were raised. LEED is clearly the market leader for sustainably certification but there’s a new kid on the block, Green Globes (actually I did some research and they’ve been around since 1993). Wayne liked this challenge to Pepsi vs. Coke, Microsoft vs. Apple, etc. You get the picture.

LEED is by far the market leader with 5000 certified projects world wide and 4000 in the US. Green Globes has 100 buildings certified in the US, equal to the number of LEED certified buildings in Atlanta. According to Wayne, Green Globes is making progress to becoming another contender in the certification process. Wayne mentioned several Sustainability Ordinances in the Atlanta area that recognize LEED or Green Globes. He also said that Green Globes has become the ANSI standard Commercial Green Building.

Green Globes, which is managed by the Green Building Initiative. LEED and Green Globes both use a similar rating system using points for various sustainable designs. LEED certification has four levels of certification; Certified, Silver, Gold and Platinum. Green Globes also has four levels of certification; one through four globes. Eighty to eighty five percent of the points in each rating system cross over to both. One of the differences between the LEED system and Green Globes is the different types of certification. LEED has five rating systems currently with four more in some stage of pilot program. Green Globes has two, new construction and continual improvements of existing buildings

So which is right for your project? Wayne described the differences which might sway you one way or the other. The LEED certification process review does not start until the design process is complete. In some cases this might be a year after the design was started. The final review starts after completion of the project. This might be another year or two. The review is done anonymously and the petitioner does not have the opportunity to discuss the project with the reviewer.

On the other hand, Green Globes uses an on-line documentation process that happens during the entire design process. It is more collaborative and a reviewer actually comes to the project site. You have a chance to talk to the reviewer at any point during the certification process. Green Globes also looks at life cycle assessment and will allow the petitioner to “opt out” on a requirement that doesn’t really suit the project (such as providing bike racks for an industrial project right off an interstate). According to Wayne the Green Globes certification process is much more user friendly than the LEED process.

Wayne also touched on the Energy Star program sponsored by the EPA and DOE. This program is free to applicants and the rating is awarded based on the energy efficiency of a building. Landlords and developers are starting to reap the benefits of these certifications with higher values of the asset and potentially higher rent for tenants who are willing to pay more for a sustainable building.

Wayne parted with a message we can all take to heart. “Go for and be green!”

– Submitted by Lindsey Bradshaw