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 & tenant satisfaction
  • Higher worker productivity & pride of place
  • Lower operating costs
  • Local and national recognition opportunities

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, requirements, considerations, and costs:

energy star

ENERGY STAR for Buildings

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.

LEED Certification

LEED: Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design

Established in 1998, Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) has transformed 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) is a philosophy, advocacy platform, and certification program that promotes a very high building standard linked to net zero energy, net zero water, beauty, and more.

well building

WELL Building Standard

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.

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.

Net Zero Energy Building

NZEB: Net Zero Energy Building

The Net Zero Energy Building (NZEB) certification is also petal achievement under the holistic Living Building Challenge; both are administered by The International Living Future Institute (ILFI) provides a certification option for a .

boma - 11 stanwix

BOMA 360 Performance Program

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

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.

ENERGY STAR Home

ENERGY STAR for Homes

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

HERS

HERS: Home Energy Rating System 

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

NGBS

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.

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