By: April Brown & Helene Gotthelf
In order to make a more objective decision, we researched the pros, cons, and costs of certifying a hypothetical building using Green Globes for New Construction – a 20,000 square foot addition to an existing art museum on a university campus.
- The web-based tool includes an initial project evaluation which calculates your projected Green Globes score and provides instant feedback on your building. The online portal also tracks the status of the assessment process.
- Green Globes includes a third-party site visit, which means that Green Globes Assessors can visually inspect the building and cut down on the amount of documentation you have to provide, which can save a lot of time for the project team. Additionally, the assessor is also available to answer questions about the assessment process, criteria, and documentation.
- Partial credit is allowed, recognizing varying levels of achievement.
- Teams can choose credits that are “not applicable” to allow for project-specific and regionally-based conditions.
- Green Globes incorporates ANSI-based Life Cycle Assessment
- There are no precluding rules about certifying additions, as compared to one of the LEED Minimum Program Requirements that defines most additions as ineligible or requires very specific conditions for the addition to be eligible for certification.
Hands-on and accessible customer service – according to correspondence with GBI staff, projects are assigned a project manager that will help answer any questions that may arise about the certification process from the moment that you begin.
There are also several disadvantages that play an integral role in the decision-making process:
- There is no building performance data available to verify the correlation between Green Globes and a high performance structure.
- There is a negative perception of GBI due to the type of corporations represented on their board of directors, mainly the timber and chemical industries. Many of the same organizations that support GBI have a long track record of fighting against environmental regulations.
- Green Globes does not have any prerequisites. While this allows for flexibility in which criteria project teams choose to pursue, this may also allow project teams to exclude certain strategies that are imperative for high performance buildings, such as commissioning.
- BuildingGreen, an independent publishing company, has found that Green Globes is less technically rigorous than LEED. As a result, we question whether Green Globes will encourage the green building movement to continue to push the building and construction industry toward higher standards.
- There is less marketing and public relations potential. While Green Globes has received an increase in publicity over the past couple years, LEED is still the dominant green building rating system in the U.S.. With significantly less buildings pursuing Green Globes, we are unsure whether the certification will carry the same weight in the public eye as LEED.