About Green Globes


Introduction
A Brief History
Characteristics of Green Globes
Green Globes New Construction Compared to LEED
Green Globes Technical Basis, Review and Endorsements

Introduction

Green Globes is an online green building rating and certification tool that is used primarily in Canada and the USA. In Canada, the following Green Globes modules are available: These modules can be used for a wide range of commercial, institutional and multi-residential building types including offices, school, hospitals, hotels, academic and industrial facilities, warehouses, laboratories, sports facilities and multi-residential buildings.

A Brief History

The genesis of Green Globes, similar to LEED and many other systems around the world was BREEAM, developed in the UK in the 1980's. Based on the 1996 CSA publication of BREEAM Canada, Green Globes for Existing Buildings was developed in 2000 by ECD Energy and Environmental Canada. Green Globes for New Buildings Canada followed shortly thereafter, with the support of the Canadian Department of National Defense and Public Works and Government Services. In 2004, the system was adapted for the USA. Since then, the assessments have undergone numerous periodic updates. GBI acquired the Global Rights to Green Globes in 2017. The Green Globes brand and associated rating systems are administered in the United States by GBI and in Canada by its wholly-owned, non-profit subsidiary, GB Initiative Canada.

Characteristics of Green Globes

Green Globes New Construction compared to LEED

Green Globes has been used on projects that range greatly in size, complexity and degree of innovation. However, in its early days, when it was not well known, it tended to be used for projects with limited budgets, based on the premise that the system could be done without the need for consultants to manage the certification process, and that it was therefore a more affordable certification system than LEED.

There are many studies that show that Green Globes is similar in terms of criteria with some exceptions (e.g. materials), and is competitive in terms of usability and cost. One of most often quoted studies was conducted by a team of researchers at the University of Minnesota led by Associate Professor Timothy M. Smith, who published an analysis of the two rating systems in a report titled "Green Building Systems: A Comparison of the LEED and Green Globes Systems in the U.S." (http://www.thegbi.org/gbi/Green_Building_Rating_UofM.pdf). The study provides a detailed comparison of how the systems operate as well as their respective strengths and weaknesses. There are many other studies by media and academic researchers, industry and users, and governments.

The following table highlights some of the similarities and differences of the two methodologies.

Green Globes LEED
Uses ANSI approved consensus development process Yes No
Nationally accepted program Yes Yes
Program delivery Online interactive questionnaires Online submission of templates
Total program points 1,000 110
Partial credits and recognizes that some criteria may be "not applicable" Yes Limited
Pre-requisites No Yes
Uses life cycle assessment and multiple attribute evaluations Yes No
Forest certifications accepted FSC, SFI, ATFS, CSA FSC

Green Globes Technical Basis, Review and Endorsements

Federal governments in the U.S. and Canada, including numerous individual states and provinces, endorse the use of Green Globes for high-performance and sustainable buildings. The federal government in Canada has been using Green Globes for New Construction for more than a decade. The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) high-performance building certification system review recommends the use of Green Globes by federal agencies. This recommendation follows a 5-year review cycle in which GSA reviews all major building certification systems as required by the Energy Independence and Security Act ( EISA 2007). In 2011, GBI developed the Guiding Principles Compliance Program ( GPC), the first third-party program to verify compliance to the Guiding Principles for Sustainable Buildings as originally required by Executive Order 13423, and updated by Executive Order 13514, Executive Order 13693, and the most recent Executive Order 13834 Implementing Instructions (PDF link).