5 Ways Green Buildings Around The World Are Ranked
In one of our past articles, we have discussed about sustainability and how we can make our buildings sustainable for the better future of our environment. Here we are going to talk about how the sustainability aspect of buildings can be measured and ranked.
Throughout the years, countless buildings have been built around the concept of sustainability; the term that is commonly used to refer to these buildings is “green buildings”. They can range from residential to commercial, such as condominiums, business offices, educational centres, mixed-use high rises, etc. In every country, green buildings can only be officially recognized as a green building is if they applied and successfully gained a type of certification through a rating system. The prerequisites of the certificate analyzes all aspects of the building that would play a factor in how sustainable the building is.
Every country has their own rating system. Some rating systems are more common and internationally used. Let’s go through 5 of the major rating systems for green buildings from around the world!
LEED rating system is the most common and widely used green building certification in the world. LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, and is managed by the U.S Green Building Council in the United States. It is essentially the leading standard used to evaluate a building’s efficiency in energy usage and the ability to reduce carbon emissions. Many building types can apply for LEED certification including already existing buildings to new construction.
The LEED rating system has 4 tiers of certification: Certified, Silver, Gold, and Platinum. Some of the areas of focuses include location and transportation, water and energy efficiency, atmosphere, materials and resources used, indoor quality, innovation and design, etc. The overall program is to inspire buildings to think about using their resources more efficiently and at the same time create a safe environment for both the people inside the building and people outside around it.
WELL is a certification program managed by the International WELL Building Institute, and it focuses on building designs that plays a role in the health and well-being of the occupant. Like LEED, it has its own focuses when evaluating a building. The 11 focuses are: air, water, nourishment, light, movement, thermal comfort, sound, materials, mind, community, and innovation. Also similar to LEED, WELL also covers a wide range of building types.
3. Green Globes
Green Globes is a rating system that is used both US and Canada. The certification program, unlike the previous two, is designed so that the buildings can be self-assessed with a project manager and design team. The process includes a questionnaire that allows the applicant to question their project and later on make changes to acquire the certification.
Like LEED, it also has tiers of certification: 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 Green Globes. The certification covers various building types, including existing to new constructions. The primary objectives of this certification are energy usage and efficiency, water, waste management systems, emissions, indoor environment, and environmental management.
BREEAM, which stands for Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method, is the oldest certification program. Established in 1990, it is widely used around the world in over 50 countries, with over 560,000 certified and over 2 million registered.
The rating system focuses on 9 categories: management, health and well-being, transportation, water, materials and resources, land usage and ecology, and pollution. Our previously mentioned Green Globes, are one of the many certification programs inspired by BREEAM, as their aim is to push future buildings to focus more on sustainability, and at the same time being considerate of the building performance and its efficiency.
5. Green Star
Green Star is an international rating system that is mostly used particularly in Australia and South Africa. All categories in their program include an innovation section that rewards buildings for inventing new and creative ways to approach sustainability. Green Star covers a wide range of building types, and primarily focuses on things such as indoor air quality, energy consumption, transportation, water, materials and resources, land use and ecology, and emissions. Green star hopes that their program will push future projects to make conscious decisions regarding energy consumption and selection of materials.
To summarize, green buildings are ranked through certification programs and also the tiers within these program. A building can have multiple different certifications from different programs, which makes their case even more credible. Check out here to see the some of the most sustainable buildings on our planet.