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The Green Globes program, which is administered in the United States by the Green Building Initiative, is a general purpose rating system for a wide range of buildings. Green Globes offers certifications in new construction, Continual Improvement of Existing Buildings (CIEB) and CIEB for Healthcare. It is also the only one of the major ratings systems that follows ANSI's consensus process for standards development.
The goal of Green Globes is to offer an alternative to LEED while still accounting for the continuing growth in demand for sustainability, says Sharene Rekow, vice president, sales and marketing, Green Building Initiative.
"The marketplace has evolved enough that people are taking some social responsibility for (sustainability)," says Rekow. She points out that there are four reasons that facilities pursue certification: legislative requirements; return on investment; consumer demand; or because "it's the right thing to do."
To aid sustainability efforts, Green Globes uses an online reporting tool and third-party site visits for verification. The online tool allows facility managers to gather data on their building's performance at any time — once again focusing on the importance of operations. The tool is also usable after the certification process is complete, allowing for ongoing tracking of building performance.
"I call it TurboTax for sustainability because you always know where you are at any given time," Rekow says.
Unlike LEED, Green Globes does not have prerequisites, allows for partial scores and offers reports with sustainability recommendations included.
While Green Globes is intended to be a general purpose rating system, it has found a particular area of specialization recently. Green Globes is currently developing a system for federal facilities to be in compliance with the Guiding Principles for Federal Leadership in High Performance and Sustainable Buildings, a set of sustainability guidelines for federal buildings. Each agency must have at least 15 percent of its buildings meet the principles by 2015.
A project with the Veterans' Administration to certify 216 hospitals and health care facilities has led to a focus on offering federal facilities a path to compliance with the Guiding Principles, in both existing buildings and new construction. The VA project led Green Globes in an unexpected direction, says Rekow.
"When the VA came to us and asked us to certify more than 200 hospitals, they wanted something that was specifically for health care," Rekow says. "If you would've asked us a year ago (before the VA project) if we would have developed a rating for the Guiding Principles, we never would've thought about it."
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