There’s a new kid on the green construction standard block. The Green Globes rating system is being touted as a less-expensive method of rating the sustainability of construction projects. Until recently, LEED was the leading certification program that offered ratings for green architectural design and development, construction and maintenance. Now, LEED is facing competition from Portland, Oregon-based Green Globes, causing controversy and competition throughout the green building industry.
Differences & Similarities
Both LEED and the Green Globes provide national/state/local certification for sustainable building projects; however, there are quite a few ways in which these two systems differ.
- LEED is based on a system of 110 points whereas the Green Globes utilizes a 1,000 point system. Each requires a minimum of points in order to be certified.
- Both have four rating levels for projects. Green Globes assigns a rating of one to four Globes (four being the highest). LEED also offers four levels of certification with “LEED Platinum” being the highest rating and “Certified LEED” as the lowest.
- LEED has some prerequisites before projects can be considered for certification, while Green Globes offers more flexibility to builders and in building types.
- Green Globes uses Energy Star data to benchmark energy performance (against actual regional performance data). LEED benchmarks buildings against hypothetical building models.
Green Globes proponents assert that LEED is significantly less costly and saves time. LEED’s supporters point to LEED as the industry’s gold standard points-based rating system for over a decade. There’s no disputing LEED’s dominance with more than 44,000 national projects compared to less than 900 for Green Globes. Nonetheless, Green Globes has promoted a movement to ban LEED in numerous states and at the federal level. To date, Maine, Georgia, Mississippi and Alabama have banned LEED in state construction, while North Carolina, Florida and Ohio have initiated anti-LEED legislation.
Merit on Both Sides
Support for both LEED and Green Globes camps will undoubtedly become more vocal as the comparisons and legal wrangling increase. Even the U.S. government is weighing options as to which standard to use. In the past, the GSA had required LEED to evaluate the environmental impact and sustainability of its projects. In October, they were given the choice between LEED and the Green Globes. Earlier this month, the US Department of Defense also opted to use the Green Globes certification program for its buildings.
From its inception, LEED has provided the template for green construction accountability. Now Green Globes is challenging the LEED template. Are you in favor of stalwart LEED or up-and-comer Green Globes shaking up the ratings game?