In today's marketplace, so many things claim to be "green" that it can be really, really tough to decipher what's green and what's greenwashing. Sometimes, green measures even conflict with each other.
Apparently, that's the case with LEED and Green Globes, at least in Washington State. Green Globes,Green Building Initiative, is a green building certification that I have only come across a few times in my travels. LEED is by far and without question the more prominent certification of the two.
However, LEED's prominence is due in large part to its inclusion in state and city government incentives and requirements. For example, Washington State requires major buildings meet LEED silver or higher to receive public funding. Seattle requires developers meet at least LEED silver to receive a density bonus. Those requirements have gone a long way towards making Washington a leader in its number of LEED certified buildings, and LEED projects on the board.
Senate Bill 5384 would change the state mandated requirements by adding the Green Globes standard as an alternative to LEED silver.
Now, it might surprise some to learn that Cascadia, the region's go-to organization for green building, is lobbying hard against this. But then again Cascadia is part of the U.S. Green Building Council and the U.S. Green Building Council created LEED, so it stands to reason that it would support LEED certification. The bill is also opposed by the Washington Environmental Council and the Washington Conservation Voters, which represents many different environmental organization statewide.
An advocacy e-mail appeared in my in-box today asking readers to call state legislators to make sure
I don't know enough about Green Globes to report on whether any of the above allegations are true. I know board members of GBI represent a number of different interests from universities to business. I know a number of industry organizations heavily support their initiatives (though to be fair, industry also supports USGBC).
I also know the actual bill, available here, has a piece in it stating all major projects receiving state funds that are four stories or under must use wood and wood products as building materials in them. Not sure how that fits into the point of the bill and it seems a little odd to me but make of it what you will.
If you're interested in this topic, Architect Online has an excellent rundown of the two systems by Christopher Swope here that I highly suggest reading. Swope points out that LEED could benefit from a bit of competition.
For still more information, visit GreenbuildingsNYC here.
What do you think? Is LEED too restrictive and is Green Globes the way to go? Is Green Globes a less strict certification? Weigh in by commenting below!
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