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The "Big Four" Green Building Rating Systems

March 30, 2012 - Green

Today's tip looks at four of the major green building rating systems available to facility managers: LEED, BOMA 360, Certification from the Society for Environmentally Responsible Facilities (or SERF), and Green Globes.

Let's start with LEED, easily the most familiar of the four. The U.S. Green Building Council's roster of LEED rating systems has grown dramatically since the first one - New Construction - came online in 2001. LEED is used all over the world to certify everything from data centers to synagogues, both new and existing buildings. The LEED rating systems is based on a 100-point scale and certification is awarded at four levels, Certified, Silver, Gold and Platinum. For more information on LEED, visit

The green certification created by the Society for Environmentally Responsible Facilities is the newest kid on the block. It was founded in mid-2011, and according to its founder Joe Maguire, SERF certification aims to streamline the application and submission process, and reduce the time and money it takes for a building to be certified green. The process should take between four and six weeks. SERF certification can apply to a variety of building types, including office, multi-family residential and institutional. For more information, visit

The Building Owners and Managers Association's 360 Performance Program evaluates six areas of operations and management practices, including Building Operations and Maintenance, Life Safety/Security/Risk Management, Training and Education, Energy, Environment/Sustainability, and Tenant Relations/Community Involvement. As you can tell, it's a holistic building evaluation that moves beyond just green criteria. The certification only applies to occupied office building and industrial space. For more information, visit and search BOMA 360.

Finally, Green Globes is a rating system offered in the U.S. by an organization called the Green Building Initiative. Using an online questionnaire and evaluation tool, the rating system scores facilities on a 1,000-point scale in several categories. Green Globes can be used as a self-assessment tool, or, if owners prefer, they can hire third-party assessors to certify facilities. For more information, visit


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