October 9, 2015
You Should Comment on the Revised Green Globes Standard
By Stuart Kaplow on
Last Friday (September 11) was the beginning of the public comment period on the Green Building Initiative’s revision to its ANSI/GBI 01-2010: Green Building Assessment Protocol for Commercial Buildings that forms the basis for the current version of Green Globes for New Construction.
Nearly 1000 buildings are Green Globes certified in the U.S. today.
The revised Standard is now available on GBI’s website along with a public comment form at www.thegbi.org/ansi. The public comment period will run through Monday, October 26, 2015.
It is important for the continued success of the broader green building industry that you comment on the revised Green Globes Standard whether or not you have worked on a Green Globes project. Many are concerned that the current collaboration on the development of future versions of ASHRAE Standard 189.1, the IgCC and LEED, relying on ASHRAE’s technical expertise, risks further stifling innovation and creativity in green building. A strong GBI and innovative new Green Globes Standard may be the best weapon against the further slowing of the already stalling larger domestic green building market.
I had an opportunity to speak with Vicki Worden the new Executive Director of GBI last week and she described how work on the revision began in 2014 and has included input from nearly 100 subject matter experts in the green building community through more than 70 public meetings and calls conducted as part of GBI’s American National Standard Institute (ANSI) procedures.
A good example of the Green Globes tradition of flexibility is the use of “non-applicables.” Users can indicate criteria that are not applicable to a building or project. For instance, if optional features (e.g., cooling towers) are not included in the project scope, then those criteria could be marked non-applicable. This is key because a building is only in compliance with the Standard and can only achieve Green Globes certification if it achieves at least 35% of “applicable” points out of 1000 possible points.
The revised Standard sets an additional requirement that a building must achieve at least 20% of applicable points within each of the six environmental assessment areas.
In this revision, several changes were made to 1000 point distributions to reflect the relative perceived importance or “weight” of the criteria within areas. For example, the Energy assessment area continues to hold the highest number of possible points, indicating its critical importance. The Water assessment area’s point allocation has also been raised significantly to highlight the vital importance of water efficiency. The new point distribution as proposed “weights” the assessment areas as follows: Project Management (100 points), Site (150 points), Energy (260 points), Water (190 points), Materials (150 points), and Indoor Environment (150 points).
The revised Standard, consistent with the 2010 version, does not make specific criteria mandatory (i.e., there are no mandatory points).
Additional weighting occurs within each assessment area to encourage pursuit of criteria considered to be most important. For example, Section 9.1 on Indoor Domestic Plumbing has 32 possible points out of the Water assessment area’s total 190 points and points are allocated to encourage use of indoor plumbing fixtures more efficient than the base efficiency requirements. This ensures that Green Globes buildings prioritize indoor water efficiency. Other sections in the Water assessment area also have high weightings, including Cooling Towers (31 points), Alternate Sources of Water (28 points), Metering (28 points), and Irrigation (27 points).
With respect to the future, GBI is moving to a continuous maintenance process (i.e., not every 5 years or the like), where proposals for change can be continually considered by the Consensus Body to insure continued innovation in the Green Globes Standard that responds to the market.
The proposed more robust Green Globes New Construction Standard may be a small step for GBI, but the continuous innovation that it brings to green building, as a geoengineering solution to man’s impact on the planet, is a giant leap for mankind.