Are More Green Building Rating Systems Good for the Construction Marketplace?

Words: Bronzella Cleveland
Photo: Digitalart & FreeDigitalPhotos.net.
Photo: Digitalart & FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

According to a recent report from the Green Building Initiative (GBI), a non-profit dedicated to increasing the knowledge and use of green building in the home-building industry, the construction market has seen a 250% growth rate in alternative rating systems – systems other than LEED®.

The Green Building Initiative notes the key findings of the just-released biennial Green Building Market Barometer by Turner Construction. Turner's 2014 Green Building Market Barometer shows that interest in Green Globes (GBI's rating system) and other alternative building rating systems is up 250% in two years.

According to the study of more than 300 executives of market participants, “Respondents … expressed a significantly increased interest in alternative rating systems such as Green Globes, EnergyStar and others, with 43% of respondents saying they would be extremely or very likely to seek alternative certification [from LEED®], significantly more than the 2012 number of 17%.”

“The market for green building certification is clearly changing,” said Jerry Yudelson, GBI’s president, “with building owners more interested in cost-effective rating systems that help them to design and operate commercial properties. We view this as a positive sign for the future growth of the Green Globes family of green building rating systems.”

According to GBI, Green Globes is a web-based system that provides for green building guidance and certification which includes an onsite assessment by a third-party Assessor, typically a licensed architect or engineer. The program has modules supporting new construction and major renovation (Green Globes for New Construction), existing buildings (Green Globes for Existing Buildings), tenant improvements (Green Globes for Sustainable Interiors), and healthcare buildings (Green Globes for Healthcare). It is suitable for a wide range of buildings from offices, multi-family structures, hospitals and institutional buildings.

While I think it is good that more people are building and buying with sustainability in mind, I also can't help but wonder if more rating systems are a good thing or a bad thing? Clearly, there was a need in the market that GBI and other organizations are filling. In the grand scheme of things, my opinion on this subject doesn't matter one way or the other, but as working professionals (architects, engineers, specifiers, etc.), your opinions DO matter. So my question to you is: Are more green building rating systems good for the general construction marketplace, or does this simply lead to owner/consumer confusion?

While you're pondering this, tell me what green rating system(s) you prefer and why?

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