Building with long-term environmental impacts in mind has grown from a preference to a necessity in recent years. Stakeholders are looking to organizations to do what is right for the future of not only a company, but the environment as well. Organizations can show their commitment to prioritizing the environment by pursuing green building certifications. There are many existing certifications aiming make a positive impact on the environment, but here are EBI’s top five:
ENERGY STAR certification
ENERGY STAR certified buildings produce fewer greenhouse gas emissions, in turn saving energy and money. To meet ENERGY STAR standards, buildings must meet specified energy benchmarks set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that essentially show how energy efficient a building is. This is done by reviewing utility bills by an ENERGY STAR portfolio manager.
EBI can determine a building’s energy usage and ENERGY STAR rating as compared to other buildings of comparable size and type using the EPA’s ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager® tool. Energy benchmarking is a cost-effective way for properties to identify areas of concern and ways to save on energy and water costs.
LEED: Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design
LEED is the industry’s leading green building certification, and for good reason. LEED-certified buildings have a wealth of benefits to both stakeholders and those who use these buildings every day. LEED is a globally recognized symbol of excellence in green building, ensuring electricity cost savings, lower carbon emissions and healthier environments where people live, work and play.
To achieve LEED certification, a building can earn points by achieving prerequisites and credits that touch on carbon, energy, water, waste, transportation, materials, health and indoor environmental quality. Depending on the number of requisites hit, buildings can earn certified, silver, gold or platinum status. Through EBI’s due diligence services such as LEED gap analysis, LEED feasibility cost study analysis, or LEED facilitation, we can help you hit and achieve prerequisites and credits to achieve LEED certification.
IREM CSP: Institute of Real Estate Management Certified Sustainable Property
IREM CSP is a green building certification like LEED but is exclusively for existing buildings that are older than 18 months. IREM CSP certification recognizes excellence in property design and performance based on aspects like energy, water, health, recycling, and procurement. It is considered a more cost-effective and streamlined version of LEED for existing buildings. Retail, office space, senior living, healthcare, multifamily and industrial buildings are eligible for IREM CSP certification. Additionally, you may submit 10 or more buildings for certification as a cost saving measure.
BREEAM: Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Methodology
BREEAM’s aim is to reduce the impact of buildings on the environment through the early design and development stages, construction stage and the building’s life span. Not only does BREEAM determine a building’s level of sustainability, but also the economic, environmental, and social benefits that it has for the people linked to the life cycle of that building. BREEAM focuses on the following ten categories: energy, water, waste, health and well-being, land use, materials, management, pollution, transport and innovation. There are five levels of certification for BREEAM: pass, good, very good, excellent, and outstanding. This certification is more popular in Europe but has been gaining traction in the United States over time.
Fitwel Building Standard
The Fitwel building certification aims to support the well-being of its occupants and surrounding communities through an approach to design and operations. There are three levels of certification: one star, two stars or three stars, and are available for commercial, industrial, multifamily and retail buildings. The standard focuses on the following twelve areas: location, building access, outdoor spaces, entrances and ground floor, stairwells, indoor environment, workspaces, shared spaces, water supply, cafeterias and prepared food retail, vending machines and snack bars, and emergency procedures. The goal is to foster people-centric buildings committed to health for all.