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Fifty Shades of Green

Posted in Blog on Monday, March 2nd, 2015 at 11:08 am No Comments
Fifty Shades of Green

As seasoned LEED Consultants, The Spinnaker Group has and always will be the leaders in LEED. However, with so many other Green Building Rating Systems present in the marketplace, it’s always good to “be in the know” and to be informed as to what is taking shape in the industry. Which shade of green is right for your project? We’ve made it easy and have broken down some of the different rating systems available so you too can be up to speed.

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) 
Developed by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC), LEED is intended to help building owners and operators be environmentally responsible and is utilized by projects world-wide. LEED was introduced in 1998 and has evolved over the years, from LEED version 1.0 to LEED Version 4, which was introduced in November 2013. LEED 2009 (also known as version 3) is currently the most commonly used system but soon v4 will take its place. LEED 2009 compromises nine rating systems for the design, construction and operation of buildings, homes and neighborhoods. Buildings can qualify for four levels of certification:

  • Certified: 40–49 points
  • Silver: 50–59 points
  • Gold: 60–79 points
  • Platinum: 80 points and above

Catagories for points (for Building Design + Construction) are broken down into several different catagories; Sustainable Sites, Water Efficiency, Energy & Atmosphere, Materials & Resources, Indoor Environmental Quality and Innovation in Design. This year it is estimated that 40-48% of new nonresidential construction will be green, equating to a $120-145 billion dollar opportunity. As of January 2015, more than 3.6 billion square feet of building space is LEED certified. Learn more aboutLEED on the USGBC  website.

National Green Building Standard (NGBS)
The ICC 700 National Green Building Standard (NGBS) provides practices for the design, construction, and certification of green multifamily residential buildings, including:

  • high- and low-rise apartment buildings
  • high- and low-rise condominiums
  • residential units in mixed-use buildings

A new green multifamily building can be awarded a Bronze, Silver, Gold, or Emerald certification level, depending on the number of green practices successfully incorporated in its design and construction. Existing multifamily buildings can also attain one of the four levels of certification when remodeled according to the requirements of the NGBS. Learn more about the National Green Building Standard on their website.

Florida Green Building Coalition (FGBC)
The intent of the FGBC Commercial Building Standard is to encourage building owners to adopt green and sustainable strategies during the design and construction of their project and to receive recognition for their efforts. Unlike LEED, FGBC is implemented only in the state of Florida; projects outside the state cannot pursue FGBC. The Florida Green Commercial Building Standard covers all commercial occupancies listed in the Florida Building Code. Similar to LEED, FGBC utilizes a point based system for pursuing and achieving sustainable strategies in the project. Learn more about theFlorida Green Building Coalition on their website.

Living Building Challenge
The Living Building Challenge is a building certification program, advocacy tool and philosophy that defines the most advanced measure of sustainability in the built environment possible today. The Challenge is comprised of seven performance categories called Petals: Place, Water, Energy, Health & Happiness, Materials, Equity and Beauty. Petals are subdivided into a total of twenty Imperatives, each of which focuses on a specific sphere of influence. This compilation of Imperatives can be applied to almost every conceivable building project, of any scale and any location—be it a new building or an existing structure. Learn more about the Living Building Challenge on their website.

The rating systems listed above are just some of the many available to the marketplace. Contact The Spinnaker Group to find out more about these options and how we can help your project team achieve the right shade of green.