Sustainability is a key concern in today’s real estate market, with many different smart materials and options available. So, if you want to prove your eco-credentials, then you need to qualify for one of these green building certifications. As a result, such certifications could boost your property’s marketability.
LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certifications are a widely recognized rating system. They work across a range of building types. What’s more, they provide real estate professionals with a framework to integrate sustainability into their buildings.
Run by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), your building is graded based on the materials you use, the effect of your building on the environment and health of its residents or its water efficiency, for example. In this point-based system, your building could achieve either a certified, silver, gold or platinum status.
ENERGY STAR certification gives your building a clear stamp to highlight its energy efficiency. To get the certification, you must meet a range of strict energy performance standards to prove your building performs better than at least 75 per cent of similar buildings in the country.
Run by the US Environmental Protection Agency, the ENERGY STAR reportedly has helped US businesses and families save four trillion kWh of energy and reduce three billion metric tones of greenhouse emissions.
The BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method) certification was originally founded in the United Kingdom. However, the version for the United States rolled out in 2016.
This certification program includes a self-assessment, benchmarking tool and a third-party assessment, which is similar to the ENERGY STAR program. Similar to the LEED certification, BREEAM evaluates your building’s energy efficiency, sustainability, and pollution prevention measures, to name a few.
Green Globes is administered by the Green Building Initiative (GBI). However, this certification also uses an online self-assessment where buildings are ranked depending on their project management, energy performance, waste disposal, water usage and emissions.
According to the GBI, certification can help reduce operating costs, increase marketability and increase a building’s eligibility for tax incentives and other rebates.
Living Building Challenge
The Living Building Challenge is a highly ambitious green building certification and is based on a building’s actual performance. In order to gain certification, a building needs 12 months of careful monitoring.
There are seven performance areas (or “petals”). These include the location, energy, water, health and happiness, equity, materials and beauty. Each of these breaks down into more detailed requirements. However, the main goal of this scheme is to reduce a building’s impact on the environment as much as possible.
National Green Building Standard
The National Green Building Standard (NGBS) is a certification for homes and apartments.
Run by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), it provides a blueprint for developers to design and construct new single-family homes and apartment blocks in an eco-friendly manner. So, to gain certification, you have to provide energy-, water- and resource-efficient living spaces.
GREENGUARD Certification helps developers identify eco-friendly products and materials to guarantee indoor air quality. In order to gain certification, your building must meet stringent standards for low emissions of VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) in a building’s interior space.
The WELL Standard takes a different approach, compared to other green building certifications. Here, the health and wellbeing of a building’s occupants is the primary focus here.
For example, buildings that include features such as healthy food options, exercise opportunities and high air quality would all rank highly under this scheme.