Updated Green Globes Building Certification Program Now Built On ANSI Standard

Posted by Heidi Schwartzgreen-globe-logo-300x300

The Green Building Initiative (GBI) has announced the release of the most significant upgrade to the Green Globes® for New Construction (NC) program since it first became available in the U.S. in 2006. Green Globes is a web-based program for green building guidance and certification that includes an on-site assessment by a certified third party. The program is used to advance the overall environmental performance and sustainability of commercial buildings.

Green Globes NC is now based on an ANSI standard: ANSI/GBI 01-2010: Green Building Assessment Protocol for Commercial Buildings. The standard was developed using an ANSI approved consensus process involving stakeholders from across the building sustainability industry. For federal agencies, the program now includes the ability to assess and certify new construction and major renovations of federal buildings for compliance with the Guiding Principles as required by Executive Order 13514 signed in 2009.

“In addition to utilizing the ANSI standard, Green Globes received major enhancements to all seven assessment areas led by those covering Energy and Materials & Resources,” said Sharene Rekow, GBI vice president of business development. “The program uses advanced building science which will result in higher performing buildings.”

Energy performance assessment has been enhanced by allowing users to choose between four paths. Three of these are known to the building industry – ENERGY STAR®, ASHRAE Building Performance Method, and ASHRAE Building Energy Quotient. The fourth, developed within the ANSI process, is an operational energy approach that uses carbon dioxide equivalency (CO2e) as the basis for its calculations and captures energy performance through the entire cycle of energy consumption from source production and generation to building consumption. Bonus points have been introduced for buildings that obtain the highest levels of energy performance, such as zero net energy or 51%+ reduction in CO2e emissions.

The Materials & Resources section introduces a more sustainable and innovative methodology for the selection and specification of products based upon multiple attributes. This is a more rigorous approach that replaces the outdated and less thorough single attribute assessment method. This new approach focuses on full life cycle assessment, multi-attribute certifications, and third-party certified Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs), placing Green Globes at the vanguard of green rating programs advancing Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). In the U.S., Green Globes incorporates the recently enhanced Athena Impact Estimator, an online LCA tool that allows the designer to build assemblies specific to their project, receive LCA rating feedback and efficiently perform comparisons, leading to an optimized LCA outcome. Each individual material type is evaluated and benchmarked against five major indicator criteria: Embodied Energy, Global Warming Potential, and Effect on Land, Air and Water. By providing options, Green Globes offers users the opportunity to select structure, envelope, and interior fit-out materials and products that provide the least environmental impact.

“Professionals will be impressed by the ease of use of the online Green Globes evaluation system, and by the overall program flexibility and adaptability” said Craig Riley, Regional Business Line Leader, Sustainability at URS Corporation.

The GBI provides customer service to guide users through the process. Each project is assigned a certified third-party assessor who is available to answer questions regarding greening strategies during the design and construction process at no additional cost. At the completion of the project, the assessor performs an on-site final evaluation of each project. Based on this evaluation, a building is awarded one to four Green Globes according to the points earned in the certification process.


  1. The shadowy front organization pushing the ‘black-box’ called Green Globes onto an unsuspecting real estate industry struggles to overcome several serious issues. When you peel back the covers, the sub-standard criteria underlying this system are highly subjective and ripe with opportunities to promote business-as-usual pollution and environmental exploitation as some type of positive accomplishment. Masquerading as an industry standard is one thing, but promoting a scheme designed to bestow reward and recognition on duped real estate professionals based on filling out a questionnaire indicating that the owner isn’t a lawbreaker strains credulity. It’s no surprise how difficult it is to find projects promoting themselves as having accomplished this process – highly likely due to the chagrin and buyers remorse that comes with reflecting on what this system is really designed to do…..which is nothing. It’s ironic the overwhelming majority of search results by Google given the input “Green Globes certified” returns just that…nothing. Nobody likes being duped, and even fewer advertise this fact. With very little if any real proof to back up any of the generous check-the-box questions, owners are left to wonder who’s behind the curtain of this Green Globes scheme, what are their real motives, and why any real estate owner would ever put themselves in the position of being a rube.

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