Green Building Initiative

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Green Building Initiative (GBI) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that owns and administers the Green Globes green building assessment and certification in the United States and Canada. It was established in 2004 and is headquartered in Portland, Oregon.


The GBI acquired the U. S. rights to the Canadian Green Globes building assessment and certification program in 2004 and adapted it for the U.S. market as an alternative to the LEED building rating systems. This eventually included modules for New Construction (NC), Continual Improvement of Existing Buildings (CIEB), and CIEB Healthcare for the healthcare industry. The GBI offers these programs to builders, designers and building managers.[1][2] In 2005, the GBI was accredited as a standards developer through the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). The GBI developed the ANSI/GBI 01-2010: Green Building Assessment Protocol for Commercial Buildings to guide the development of Green Globes products.[3][4] The nonprofit also provides training and certification for professionals who use their programs.[5] In 2011 the GBI developed the Guiding Principles Compliance Program (GPC) to measure compliance with the Federal Guiding Principles for Sustainable Buildings as required by Executive Order 13514 signed in 2009.

The Green Globes certification program was launched in the U.S. in 2005 as an online building design management tool for architects and builders of sustainable commercial buildings.[6] Green Globes originated from a system started in 1990 in the United Kingdom called BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method). In an effort to make the tool more user-friendly, the Building Research Establishment, merged the BREEAM standard with a questionnaire-based rating tool. Later, it was converted to a web-based format and renamed Green Globes. Green Globes is marketed through the GBI in the U.S. and through the Building Owners & Managers Association (labeled as BOMA BESt) in Canada.[2][7][8]

Green Globes for New Construction and Continual Improvement of Existing Buildings[edit]

Green Globes for New Construction (Green Globes-NC) uses two stages for assessment and certification. The preliminary assessment occurs after concept design when construction documents are available, while the final assessment occurs after construction. Users can evaluate their systems based on the amount of applicable points in seven categories.[9] The process is questionnaire-driven and users are walked through a sequence of online questions. Once the questionnaire is completed a report is generated that provides a list of achievements along with recommendations for sustainable building strategies.[10] Building assessments are performed by a third-party, GBI-authorized assessor with expertise in green building design, engineering, construction and facility operations.[11][12] The verifier performs an onsite assessment of the building to ensure that the self-reported claims made in the online documentation are verified and to suggest how to achieve different levels of certifications.[13][14] The Green Globes for Continual Improvement of Existing Buildings program (Green Globes—CIEB) is used by building owners and property managers of existing buildings to evaluate the building's current performance, create a baseline for performance, plan for improvements and monitor ongoing performance. The questionnaire and assessment process is similar to the New Construction process, except without the site assessment.[2][15] In June 2011, the GBI launched the Green Globes Continual Improvement of Existing Buildings program for Healthcare (CIEB – Healthcare) tailored to existing hospital and long term care facilities. The program is based on the Green Globes — CIEB program.[16]

Green Globes rating categories[edit]

There are 1,000 available points across seven main sections.[17]

Assessment Area Description New Construction Points Existing Building Points
Project Management-Policies & Practices Integrated design, environmental purchasing, commissioning, and emergency response plan. 50 100
Site (not applicable for CIEB) Site development areas, reduce ecological impacts, enhancement of watershed features, and site ecology improvement. 115
Energy Energy consumption, energy demand minimization, “right sized” energy-efficient systems, renewable sources of energy, energy-efficient transportation. 390 350
Water Flow and flush fixtures, water-conserving features, reduce off-site treatment of water. 110 80
Resources, Building Materials and Solid Waste Materials with low environmental impact, minimized consumption and depletion of material resources, re-use of existing structures; building durability, adaptability and disassembly; and reduction, re-use and recycling of waste. 125 110
Emissions, Effluents and other impacts Air emissions, ozone depletion and global warming, protection of waterways and impact on municipal waste water treatment facilities, minimization of land and water pollution, integrated pest management, and the storage of hazardous materials. 50 175
Indoor Environment Effective ventilation systems, source control of indoor pollutants, lighting design and integration of lighting systems, thermal comfort, acoustic comfort. 160 185
Total Points 1000 1000

Green Globes ratings[edit]

Projects that have achieved over 35 percent of the 1,000 available points and are third-party verified can earn a rating of 1 to 4 Green Globes.[17]

85-100% 4 Globes Demonstrates national leadership and excellence in the practice of energy, water, and environmental efficiency to reduce environmental impacts.
70-84% 3 Globes Demonstrates leadership in applying best practices regarding energy, water, and environmental efficiency.
55-69% 2 Globes Demonstrates excellent progress in the reduction of environmental impacts and use of environmental efficiency practices.
35-54% 1 Globes Demonstrates a commitment to environmental efficiency practices.

Green Globes Professional Program[edit]

The Green Globes Professional (GGP) program is a network of individuals that guide clients through the Green Globes certification process. All applicants must demonstrate 5+ years of industry experience directly pertaining to commercial buildings. The curriculum covers green building concepts, Green Globes assessment protocols, Green Globes rating and certification and case studies. It is approved by the American Institute of Architects (AIA) for 5 LU/HSW continuing education credits, and is web-based and self-paced.[18]

Guiding Principles Compliance[edit]

In 2011, GBI developed the Guiding Principles Compliance Assessment (GPC) program for use by federal agencies in assessing compliance with the Federal Interagency Sustainability Working Group’s Guiding Principles for sustainable existing buildings as required by Executive Order 13514.[19] The principles are a set of established criteria that are required to achieve federal sustainability goals.[20] The two major elements of the GPC are a compliance survey and a third-party on-site assessment.

The GPC survey is broken down into six topic areas:

  1. Employ Integrated Design Principles
  2. Optimize Energy Performance
  3. Protect and Conserve Water
  4. Enhance Indoor Environmental Quality
  5. Reduce the Environmental Impact of Materials
  6. Assess and Consider Climate Change Risks

Agencies may choose to pursue either or both Green Globes certification and Guiding Principles Compliance.[21]


  1. ^ (PDF) Archived from the original (PDF) on September 21, 2012. Retrieved June 24, 2013. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  2. ^ a b c Green Globes (2013-04-22). "Green Globes ® - A Practical, Web-based Alternative to LEED". The Data Center Journal. Retrieved 2013-11-12.
  3. ^ "Accredited Standards Developers" (PDF). Retrieved 2013-11-12.
  4. ^ "GBI's American National Standard for Commercial Green Building Receives Formal Approval". Retrieved 2013-11-12.
  5. ^ "GBI's Green Globes Professional Certification Program". Retrieved 2013-11-12.
  6. ^ Shari Shapiro (2008-06-30). "Green Building Law: Guest Column-Overview of LEED and Green Globes Rating System". Retrieved 2013-11-12.
  7. ^ "BRE Group: About us". Retrieved 2013-11-12.
  8. ^ "Boma Best". Boma Best. 2013-07-15. Retrieved 2013-11-12.
  9. ^ "Pacific Northwest National Laboratory : Sustainable Building Rating Systems Summary" (PDF). Retrieved 2013-11-12.
  10. ^ "Standards and Benchmarks for Measuring Results | Building for Sustainability". 2011-01-01. Retrieved 2013-11-12.
  11. ^ Kibert, Charles J. (2008) Sustainable Construction: Green Building Design and Delivery (2nd ed.). John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Retrieved from
  12. ^ "Green Globe Certification vs. LEED". 2013-01-07. Retrieved 2013-11-12.
  13. ^ "Green Building Standards and Certification Systems | Whole Building Design Guide". 2011-09-26. Retrieved 2013-11-12.
  14. ^ "The Green Globes Difference | Sustainability content from". Supermarket News. 2011-11-28. Retrieved 2013-11-12.
  15. ^ "PAC Grren Info : Green Globes" (PDF). Retrieved 2013-11-12.
  16. ^ "Assessment - Building sustainability". Retrieved 2013-11-12.
  17. ^ a b "Green Globes Overview". Retrieved 2016-09-27.
  18. ^ "Building Media Inc". 2009-12-18. Retrieved 2013-11-12.
  19. ^ "GBI Launches Guiding Principles Compliance Certification Program | 2011-12-07 | ED+C Magazine". 2011-12-07. Retrieved 2013-11-12.
  20. ^ "GBI Offers Compliance Certification : Durability + Design News". 2012-11-05. Retrieved 2013-11-12.
  21. ^ "GBI Launches Guiding Principles Compliance Certification Program Addressing EO 13514 Requirements for Existing Buildings - Veterans Affairs Orders 180 Third-Party Assessments - Yahoo Finance". 2011-12-07. Retrieved 2013-11-12.