Certification is a great way to go – the short form way to say a LOT about your product or, in this case, a building.
Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, more commonly known as LEED, has done an incredible job of getting the word out about its program. But it's not the only "green" building certification system out there. In case you're interested, here are some of the other prevalent ones, as discussed in the summer 2012 issue of the Grand Valley Construction Association E-Jounal.
FOR COMMERCIAL AND INDUSTRIAL BUILDINGS
1) Building Research Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM)
- BREEAM is the gold standard in Europe, certifying the sustainability of new non-residential buildings. To date, over 200,000 buildings around the world have received BREEAM ratings.
- It is easy to understand, score and is backed by evidence-based science.
- It contributes to sustainable design, construction and management of a building.
- Like LEED, the program includes training for construction and
- It is relatively unknown and unproven in North America.
- Despite its adaptability, only six European countries have developed BREEAM schemes.
- The process is very rigorous and expensive to implement and comply with.
2) BOMA Building Environmental Standards (BESt)
- This program of the Building Owners and Managers Association ("BOMA") is the only one of its kind in Canada. It's a single system that independently assesses environmental performance in six categories for five types of buildings: offices, shopping centres, open air retail plazas, light industrial buildings and multi-unit residential units.
- It has been growing in popularity since its 2005 debut. Managers and owners of over 2900 buildings across Canada have applied or reapplied for BESt certification.
- It has been shown to be useful in improving sustainability and conservation in building operations and maintenance.
- It is still relatively unknown.
- It may be difficult to find assessors who are well trained in the certification, which often leads to lengthier certification times.
- This third-party certification program is for more environmentally responsible homes. Membership is open to all members of participating homebuilders associations.
- It is an important market differentiator in the tough residential market.
- It is a draw for environmentally conscious new home owners who want to reduce their carbon footprint as much as possible.
- Rarely used outside Alberta and British Columbia.
- There is mandatory training before a company can build a BuiltGreen home (This could also be an advantage, depending on your perspective!).
- This is an energy efficiency program created by the Office of Energy Efficiency of Natural Resources Canada. It is targeted at new home construction, with high standards for indoor air quality, environmental responsibility and energy use.
- The bar is set high. Homes must pass tough quality assurance tests at every stage of the building process.
- Builders are trained to the R-2000 standard.
- The rigorous technical requirements sometimes have undesirable after-effects. For example, critics have found that even though a home sealed too tightly will be less expensive to maintain, it can lead to indoor air quality issues such as mould.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.