Green Building Certifications, Rating Systems, & Labels

Third-party certification is a great way to add credibility to any green building.

The process of achieving certification also adds a layer of accountability and integrity for the building project team. While a space can certainly be green and high-performing if it is not certified, there are several tangible benefits that accompany certification that cannot be as easily attained without it.

Benefits include:

  • Higher rental or resale value
  • Higher occupant satisfaction
  • Higher demand
  • Lower operating costs

Third-party certification is not the only way to achieve a healthy and high-performance space, but it is certainly one of the most efficient ways to guarantee you get one.

Every project, team, and budget will consider a variety of different delivery and verification methods for their high-performance place; however, anyone working on a green building project should review the following certification options, benefits, costs, considerations, and requirements:


ENERGY STAR for Buildings Program

ENERY STAR was originally developed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a voluntary labeling program to promote energy-efficient products and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.


Home Energy Rating System

The Home Energy Rating System (HERS) is an evaluation of energy efficiency and forecasted energy costs within a home.

Green Globes

Green Globes

The Green Globes system was based on the Building Research Establishment’s Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM) by the Canadian Standards Association.

LEED Certification


LEED, or Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design, is transforming the way we think about how our buildings and communities are designed, constructed, maintained and operated across the globe.

Living Building Challenge

Living Building Challenge

The Living Building Challenge (LBC), administered by the International Living Future Institute (ILFI), is a philosophy, advocacy platform, and certification program that promotes a high standard for buildings.


National Green Building Standard

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and the International Code Council (ICC) partnered to establish a nationally recognized standard definition of green building for homes.

Net Zero Energy Building

Net-Zero Energy Building

The International Living Future Institute (ILFI) provides a certification option for a Net Zero Energy Building (NZEB) under its umbrella of the holistic Living Building Challenge (LBC) certification.

Passive House Certification

Passive House

The Passivhaus standard was developed in Germany in the early 1990s and the first dwellings to be completed to the Passivhaus Standard were constructed in Darmstadt in 1991.

energy star


ENERGY STAR certification was first offered for homes in 1995.  Initially focused on windows, air sealing, and HVAC, the label has since been updated to apply to more components of the home including lighting, insulation, and appliances.

class g allegheny conference 1


Class-G is an online platform designed to track the ongoing sustainability measures enacted in existing buildings.  Structured around a yes/no checklist, the system allows companies to self-certify and compare their various locations.

well building

WELL Building Standard

Currently in its pilot phase, the WELL Building Standard focuses on the health and wellness impacts that buildings have on occupants.  Areas of concentration are air, water, nourishment, light, fitness, comfort, and mind.

boma - 11 stanwix

BOMA 360 Performance Program

The BOMA 360 Performance Program, sponsored by Building Owners and Managers Association International, awards buildings that meet industry best practices in building management and operations.


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