Green building rating systems across the globe.
Green building refers to both a structure and the application of processes that are environmentally responsible and resource-efficient throughout a building's life-cycle, i.e from planning to design, construction, operation, maintenance, renovation, and demolition. Energy use, water use, indoor environmental quality, material section, and the building's effects on its site are few other factors that are considered with concern for green building construction.
From economic benefits to environmental benefits, there is a lot that these green buildings offer.
In 1960, American architect Paul Soleri proposed this new concept of ecological architecture which led to the concept and implementation of green building.
Before discussing the rating systems of green buildings across the globe, let's skim through some of its benefits.
Environmental benefits of green building are:
Enhance and protect biodiversity and ecosystems
Improve air and water quality
Reduce waste streams
Conserve and restore natural resources
Economic benefits of green building are :
Reduce operating costs
Improve occupant productivity
Enhance asset value and profits
Optimize life-cycle economic performance
Social benefits of green building are :
Enhance occupant health and comfort
Improve indoor air quality
Minimize strain on local utility infrastructure
Improve overall quality of life
(Source: Green Built Alliance)
The green building rating system is a set of guiding principles in ensuring that sustainable green practices are followed in how we plan, design, construct, operate and maintain sustainable communities for national development.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), there are seven essentials components for a green building and they are:
- Energy efficiency and renewable energy
- water efficiency
- environmentally friendly materials
- waste reduction
- lowering toxics
- indoor air quality and
- sustainable development and growth.
Below mentioned are the topmost 12 green building ranking systems across the globe:
Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design is a green building certification used in the United States. Managed by the U.S. Green Building Council, this building rating system is completed by on-site or third-party verification. LEED has four certification levels including, certified, silver, gold, and platinum. LEED has nine areas of focus, including location and transportation, sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, material and resources, indoor environmental quality, innovation, regional priority, and integrative processes. The LEED certification program aims to have buildings use their resources more efficiently and create a safe environment for all its occupants throughout the building’s life cycle
WELL is a building certification program managed by the International WELL Building Institute, which focuses mostly on building design attributes that impact occupant health and well-being. Air, water, nourishment, light, movement, thermal comfort, sound, materials, mind, community, and innovation are the 11 concepts evaluated by WELL.
Fitwel focuses on the health and wellbeing of the building occupants as well as the surrounding community. FitWel can also be used in a variety of building types and spaces. FitWel focuses on location, building access, outdoor spaces, entrances, stairs, indoor environment, workspaces, shared spaces, water supply, cafeterias and prepared food areas, vending machines and snack bars, and emergency procedures
4. Green Globe
This building rating system used in the US and Canada. Green Globes is structured so that it can be done as a self-assessment in-house with the project manager and design team. The certification program focuses on energy usage, water, waste management, emissions, indoor environment, and environmental management.
Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method is the oldest green building rating system. Created in 1990, this green building rating system is measured across 9 categories: management, health and well-being, transport, water, materials, land use and ecology, and pollution. BREEAM is aimed at making buildings more sustainable, as well as improving building performance and efficiency.
This green building certification program created by the German Sustainable Building Council focuses on promoting sustainable building practices across Europe. DGNB uses a holistic approach with an emphasis on performance. It has three levels of certification, platinum, gold and silver respectively. Ecological quality, socio-cultural and function quality, technical quality, and process quality are evaluated for this certification.
7. Green Star
Green Star is an international sustainability reporting and rating system, that is popular particularly in Australia and South Africa. All Green Star categories include an innovation category that rewards projects for creating and utilizing new approaches to sustainability.
8. BCA Green Mark Scheme
Building and Construction Authority Green Mark Scheme is a green certification program that focuses on the development of sustainable buildings in Singapore. This certification program focuses on innovation and governance to create a community of care and a more sustainable environment. Energy efficiency, water efficiency, environmental protection, indoor environmental quality, and innovation features are the five key attributes.
9. Beam Plus
BEAM Plus is a certification program recognized by the Hong Kong Business Environment Council that focuses on incorporating sustainability into the planning, design, construction, operation, and maintenance of a building. Site, material, water and energy use, indoor environmental quality, and innovation are the focal factors of Beam Plus
Comprehensive Assessment System for Build Energy Environment Efficiency was launched in 2015 and can be used for both new construction and existing buildings throughout Japan. This program focuses on energy and resource efficiency, and local and indoor environments.
Gulf Organization for Research and Development aims to encourage sustainable economic development and environmental leadership through sustainable building design. GORD is the first performance-based green building certification program in the Middle East and North Africa. It is a two-step process for the certification, firstly obtaining the design and build certificate and secondly pursuing the conformance design audit.
A green building certification program created by the Sweden Green Building Council in 2010. Including both new construction and existing building pathways.
(Source: Sustainable investment group)
Out of all these ranking systems, LEED is the most widely used green building ranking system used in the world.
LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. LEED provides a framework for healthy, highly efficient, and cost-saving green buildings, and its certification is also globally recognized and a symbol of sustainability, achievement, and leadership.
LEED certification is for all building types and any interior/exterior fits and more.
Green building ranking systems are really important to bring together sustainable methods and to ensure an eco-friendly architecture.