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The nonprofit called the Green Building Initiative (GBI) offers a certification known as the “Green Globes” for facility managers that seek to make their facilities more environmentally friendly. There are certain standards that must be met and a process to go through to qualify. However, those who do qualify will experience myriad benefits with their new certification.
Adam Wellen of GBI will present the session “Demonstrating Commitment with GBI’s Green Globes for Existing Buildings Health & Wellness Distinction” at NFMT March.
NFMT: What sort of standards must be met to qualify for the Green Globes certification?
Wellen: It's really a comprehensive green assessment and what we're trying to validate is environmental sustainability, the health and wellness, and the resilience of both new and existing buildings. The certification tools are based on an ANSI standard that was developed by GBI. We do that in a consensus process which involves hundreds of meetings of subject matter experts and multiple public comments periods for each time we go through one of these cycles.
I think that our existing buildings tool is going to be the one facility managers are more interested in. So that one's based on 1,000-point scale and that's focusing on six performance assessment areas. We have ESG management site energy, water materials and indoor environmental. In order to become certified, a building has to meet at least 35 percent of the applicable points and the buildings also have to comply with local jurisdictional requirements as well.
NFMT: What are the benefits of becoming certified through the Green Globes program?
Wellen: There are a ton of benefits that we built. So, through certifying what it's really doing is verifying that the building has been built or is being maintained with an emphasis on sustainability. In a variety of aspects for building owners and managers, it can lead to lower energy and water bills and potentially allow property to qualify for green financial incentives that are available. This certification also demonstrates a commitment to occupants’ health and wellness. It can aid in attracting and retaining tenants, plus it gives a more favorable perception with publicity for their properties.
NFMT: What are environmental, social and governance (ESG) goals?
Wellen: ESG at its core is a set of standards that a company can comply with for contextualizing and measuring their performance. That really culminates in a transparent reporting on how the sustainability in the CSR and the governance objectives are being pursued and accounted for. In terms of buildings and real estate, you have the Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark. They are the ESG benchmarking organization that many portfolio owners use to report their results and compare how they're performing on green building certifications. For how they can qualify to increase its rank, when it certifies a larger portion of its portfolio using a tool like Green Globes, it does qualify. For full points under their building certification section of grades, where some certifications only do partial credit, green building and GBI's Green Globes counts for full points and grades.
NFMT: What is the process like for becoming certified? How does it work?
Wellen: We tried to make it a really streamlined process that once a project team has registered their project on our website, they then get access to an interactive online questionnaire. The project team then completes the questionnaire and come and they have to compile their supporting documentation for all the criteria they're claiming points for. With the questionnaire complete, then we would assign a third-party assessor to their project.
The assessor would come in and complete either an in person or virtual on-site assessment, comparing the answers with the questionnaire to the physical features of the building. Then they award the points based on the sustainability features that have been implemented. The assessor that issues the final score and reports issues a full report. This includes recommendations on what the project team can do to continue to improve the sustainability of the building even after they've done the certification.
For more information on the Green Globes certification, be sure to check out the related session hosted by Wellen at NFMT. Register for the show here.
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