A third-party assessment conducted by a GBI-trained assessor (aka "Green Globes Assessor") is required for a Green Globes NC 2019 rating and certification. Assessors with expertise in green building design, engineering, and construction interface with project teams and building owners during the assessment process by reviewing and evaluating documentation, conducting site visits, and creating comprehensive assessment reports.
Items from the "Recommended Documentation" listed with each criteria are typical documents that Green Globes Assessors will use prior to, or in conjunction with, a post-construction site visit and walk-through to assess compliance, although additional documentation may be requested or substituted prior to, or during, the onsite visit.
To become Green Globes-certified, each project must achieve a minimum of 35% of the total applicable points and attain a minimum percentage of points in each environmental assessment area as denoted in Table 2. Certified projects are assigned a rating of One to Four Green Globes, which is reflected in a final report and certificate issued by the GBI.
Green Globes for New Construction Process
Green Globes for New Construction (NC) is part of the Green Building Initiative's (GBI) suite of Green Globes programs. The Green Globes NC 2019 assessment includes completion and review of the Green Globes NC 2019 Questionnaire as well as a Design Review and an Onsite Assessment. The questionnaire and assessments aid the Integrated Design Process (IDP) team throughout the design process per the unique goals and needs of each individual project.
Green Globes NC 2019 Questionnaire
The first step is to register the project with GBI and order a third-party assessment. After purchase and receipt of payment, GBI provides questionnaire access to the client, who with the help of the project IDP team will complete it. The questionnaire collects information on a variety of environmental and sustainable characteristics, programs, policies, and technologies. On its own, the questionnaire is a helpful tool, but the strength and benefits of the program are best achieved when completing the questionnaire in tandem with the Green Globes NC 2019 assessment.
The Design Review is a third-party assessment of the project's construction documents(1). This review can take place at any point during the process after documents are available. If the client desires, the review may happen prior to the 100% construction documents set is complete. When the Preliminary Assessment Questionnaire(2) and supporting documentation are ready for assessor review, the client (or client's project manager) submits the questionnaire to GBI, who assigns a third-party Green Globes Assessor to perform the Design Review. The client works with the assigned assessor to deliver all needed documentation. The Green Globes Assessor reviews the questionnaire and submitted documentation to verify point awards.
When the review is complete, the assessor will create a Preliminary Assessment Report that will be accessible from the project dashboard. The report will include score details, point variances, verification required, and recommendations. The assessor will also create a Design Review report (PDF) that relays the preliminary rating for the project. GBI reviews both the Preliminary Assessment Report (in the project dashboard) and the Design Review Report (PDF) and when approved, issues them to the client. The client reviews the report and shares the results with their team. The Design Review is a non-binding assessment, meaning the results are preliminary not final. To be eligible for certification and subsequent rating, a project must complete the Onsite Assessment.
The Onsite Assessment is a third-party assessment of the project's completed construction. A completed Design Review is required prior to an Onsite Assessment. The final Green Globes rating and certification is based upon the assessor's site visit results, including review of additional supporting documentation as necessary. If there are any changes since the completion of the Design Review Report, the client will update the Final Assessment Questionnaire(2) and provide updated verification documentation as needed.
When construction is essentially complete (through the punch list) and the team is ready to schedule the site visit, the client submits the updated Final Assessment Questionnaire and contacts GBI to provide the preferred visit timing. GBI schedules a third-party Green Globes Assessor to perform the Onsite Assessment and issues a formal scheduling letter to the client and assessor. The letter includes the contact information for both to facilitate direct contact. Whenever possible, GBI assigns the same assessor for both the Design Review and Onsite Assessment. Please note that the site visit typically requires 30 days advance notice. In the weeks leading up to the site visit, the assigned assessor contacts the client to discuss the itinerary and specific details of the assessment.
Typically, the Onsite Assessment begins with an introductory meeting in which the assessor can interview the key project players (Architect, MEP Engineers, Project Manager/Owner, General Contractor, etc.). Someone knowledgeable about all aspects of the project should be onsite during the entire visit to ensure the assessor receives the information needed to verify any outstanding criteria. Afterwards, one or two people can guide the assessor through the building. If any follow-up documentation is requested during the site visit, it should be sent to the assessor within one week.
After the visit, the assessor will create a Final Assessment Report that will be accessible from the project dashboard. The report will include score details, point variances, and recommendations. The assessor will also create an Onsite Assessment report (PDF) that relays the final rating for the project. GBI reviews both the Final Assessment Report (in the project dashboard) and the Onsite Assessment Report (PDF) and when approved, issues them to the client.
Green Globes Program Features
One of the defining qualities of Green Globes is its flexibility. The goal of the program is to promote the adoption of green building practices on a comprehensive scale by providing a flexible rating system that can be applied to a wide range of building types. To achieve this goal, Green Globes makes use of several important features and concepts, as follows.
The Green Globes 1000-point scale allows for weighted criteria, wherein the assigned number of points for individual criteria reflects their relative impact and/or benefit on the sustainability of the building. For example, energy is considered to be the most important area affecting the sustainability of a building, so it carries the highest point value of all the Green Globes assessment areas within the New Construction (NC), Existing Building (EB), and Sustainable Interiors (SI) programs. This method emphasizes sustainable design while minimizing unnecessary "'point chasing" for criteria that are outside of the project scope or provide relatively little environmental benefit.
Prerequisites are contrary to the objectivity and scientific accuracy of the Green Globes programs. They can be penalizing and result in building projects being excluded from green building assessment and certification. Green Globes aims to be inclusive and recognize sustainable achievements in all areas. A building is eligible for Green Globes certification when it achieves the 35% of the applicable points (1,000 maximum points less non-applicable points).
Green Globes Assessors are sustainability experts, generally with more than 10 years of applicable industry experience, who have successfully completed GBI's Green Globes Assessor Training Program. Once certified, Green Globes Assessors are authorized to perform Green Globes and Guiding Principles Compliance assessments for GBI as independent contractors. Their professional judgment is critical in the assessment process to verify point awards, to determine criteria applicability, as well as to provide sustainability recommendations within their assessment report. Once assigned, the client has direct access to contact the assessor for assessment guidance. Although GBI assigns Green Globes Assessors to projects, the assessor decisions and recommendations are not revised or redirected by GBI, thus ensuring assessor autonomy and their third-party status.
(ANSI/GBI 01-2019 Section 3.1) Levels of Achievement 1, 2, 3, and 4 for ANSI/GBI 01-2019 are specified in Table 1 below, alongside their Green Globes rating equivalent.
Minimum Achievement Requirements (ANSI/GBI 01-2019 Section 3.2)
To achieve compliance in any of the four levels, buildings must:
- Attain a minimum of 35% of applicable points out of the 1000 possible points available; and
- Attain a minimum percentage of points in each environmental assessment area as denoted in Table 2
Where calculations are used to determine points achieved, round to the nearest whole number.
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