Help With Integrating Building Certification Programs Is On The Way

By Scott Kriner, Green Metal Consulting

There is no doubt that the mission of sustainability as it pertains to construction has exploded well beyond simply lowering the environmental footprint of a building. Today there are more and more building certification programs in general. The USGBC’s LEED program is the dominating choice. And the Green Building Institute’s Green Globes program is gaining traction, especially within the U.S. government.  And we now see BREEAM, the world's leading sustainability assessment method for master planning projects, infrastructure and buildings in North America. In all of these certification programs we are also seeing an expansion of scope beyond just building sustainability.

A quick look at the International Living Future Institute reveals a suite of sustainable certification programs for Communities, Products, Net Zero Energy, Net Zero Water, Net Zero Waste, and even Social Justice.

This column recently highlighted the focus of the WELL Standard certification program and the FITWEL program for improving the health and productivity of building occupants.

Where will it end??

Fortunately there is help on the way. Over the last two decades there has been work done to integrate many of these programs. One of the first hints of this effort was seen when the WELL Standard Certification was introduced as being designed to overlap with LEED in several areas. Just recently the International WELL Building Institute announced alignments between the WELL Building Standard and the LEED Rating System to make it easier to pursue dual certification.

Earlier this year Building Operating Management magazine introduced “ARC”- a new interface through which all buildings and communities can connect to LEED.  ARC is the culmination of two decades of efforts on the part of USGBC and GBCI developing complementary rating systems in response to industry’s request for a simplified way to comply with multiple certifications.  According to the USGBC another function to be introduced soon will be the ability to see features from complementary ratings that have been automatically awarded to a project.  The intent is to integrate that feature into existing LEED User Tools.

The long-awaited integration tool to maneuver through the maze of multiple certification programs will be welcomed by building project teams where multiple certifications are their intent.

Scott Kriner is the president and founder of Green Metal Consulting Inc. He is a LEED Accredited Professional who began his career in the metal construction industry in 1981. His company is a member of the U.S. Green Building Council, the California Association of Building Energy Consultants and the Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET).

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