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Green Building Programs

Green Globes®




1. How can I benefit from using Green Globes?

Using Green Globes to assess and certify the sustainability of new and existing commercial buildings can help you identify ways to reduce building operating costs (energy, water, etc.), qualify for tax incentives, meet government mandates, enhance public relations, increase the marketability of buildings, and protect the environment.

2. Why should I choose Green Globes over other programs?

Due to its transparent process, web-based survey, customer support, use of third-party assessors, and lack of bureaucratic process, Green Globes is the most efficient program for achieving green building objectives. Green Globes is also technically rigorous (Green Globes for New Construction is based on an ANSI Standard) and affordable.

Users can view their projected score based on the responses entered into the online survey. They also have access to helpful “tool tips” that provide additional information and clarification of criteria. Green Globes requires an on-site building assessment by a third-party sustainability expert to verify compliance with the criteria and determine the final Green Globes rating. It also includes a detailed report with recommendations for improvement. Customer support is readily available throughout the assessment process.

In addition to its ease of use and affordability, the Green Globes rating system has a focus on energy and water performance and environmental management systems. Green Globes for New Construction also has a focus on life cycle assessment of materials and resources and promotes an integrated design process.

Green Globes employs a whole-building approach with no pre-requisites, making green building certification accessible to a wide range of building types and allowing recognition of sustainability efforts in a variety of areas. Assessment criteria are grouped and weighted, with energy carrying the most weight. In addition, third-party assessors have the flexibility to deem certain criteria not applicable to the project and award partial credit where deserved.

3. Where did Green Globes originate?

ECD Energy & Environment Canada worked with the Canadian Standards Association to create BREEAM Canada, which was based on the successful BREEAM rating system from the United Kingdom. In 2004, the Green Building Initiative (GBI) purchased exclusive rights to adapt and provide Green Globes in the U.S.

4. How is Green Globes maintained?

: GBI is an ANSI Standards developer and uses an approved consensus process to guide ongoing development of the U.S. Green Globes programs. An example is the "ANSI/GBI 01-2010: Green Building Assessment Protocol for Commercial Buildings" which was used as the basis for the recent update of Green Globes for New Construction. The GBI Technical Committee oversees continual development of Green Globes to ensure it aligns with current sustainability standards and best practices.

5. What types of buildings are eligible for the Green Globes programs?

Green Globes is used for a variety of commercial building types including offices, manufacturing facilities, warehouses, laboratories, sports facilities, etc.

6. Don’t ASHRAE standards cover the assessment areas in Green Globes?

Only partially. As an example, ASHRAE 189 is a comprehensive new construction protocol for commercial buildings. It is publicized as a complement to rating systems; it does not encompass a formal assessment and rating program. Its language style is a hybrid between rating system language and code language.

Approximately ¾ of Green Globes for New Construction is covered in the Energy section and about ½ of the Indoor Environment section – about 40% total. So Green Globes is more comprehensive, encompassing many environmental criteria that ASHRAE does not.

7. Is hiring a Green Globes Professional (GGP) required for Green Globes assessment?

No. Green Globes was designed to be practical, user-friendly, and affordable with the goal of ensuring that architects, engineers, property managers, and building owners could use it directly.  However, clients wanting a Green Globes expert user on their project team often see value in hiring a GGP to spearhead the certification process. Alternately, clients often have one or more of their team members certify as a GGP through training offered by GBI.

8. What is involved in a third-party assessment?

Green Globes certification requires formal evaluation of the project by a GBI-assigned third-party assessor. Assessors are sustainability experts with significant experience in design, engineering, energy analysis/management, commissioning, construction and/or facility management. The assessor reviews the Green Globes online evaluation and project documentation and then performs a site visit to validate point awards and meet with relevant personnel. The assessor prepares a report of his/her findings, which GBI reviews and issues to the client.

In addition, new construction projects include a third-party review of construction documents during the design phase. The assessor prepares a report that provides a projected Green Globes score based upon the reviewed design as well as recommendations to improve the score. The document review has additional value when completed early enough to incorporate assessor recommendations into project design and construction.

9. How much does certification cost?

There are three primary components to the cost of Green Globes certification: 1) a flat fee for access to the online evaluation, 2) the third-party assessment cost, which is based upon building size and complexity; and 3) the assessor travel expenses for the site visit. Optional certification plaques are available for purchase at an additional cost. Please refer to the GBI price list for current pricing.

10. Why should I switch from LEED to Green Globes?

Green Globes is less time consuming and less expensive. Its technical rigor is unsurpassed. It offers the opportunity to assess and certify buildings (e.g., historical buildings) that cannot use the LEED process due to prerequisites. The Green Globes process is less bureaucratic and customer support is readily available at all times.

11. Everyone knows LEED. Even though it is not perfect, it is the market standard… a common language. Why should anyone make the investment in time and money to switch or adopt a second program?

The investment is minimal. Green Globes covers all of the environmental areas that LEED does, plus it has a section on Emissions and Effluents (LEED does not). Green Globes is easier to use because of its streamlined process using a web-based survey. The process is transparent throughout (you always know where you stand and what improvements you should consider) and is supported by technical staff. The program costs of Green Globes are less than the total cost of LEED, and Green Globes can be used on a wider variety of buildings.

When companies switch from LEED to Green Globes, they do not go back to LEED.

12. Is Green Globes Less Expensive than LEED?

According to a study completed by Drexel University professor Jeffrey Beard, GBI's Green Globes certification process is significantly less expensive to conduct and faster to complete than LEED certification. Click here to view the Drexel comparison study press release.

Using Green Globes

13. How do I get started?

First, create an account through the GBI website. Second, purchase a subscription to the online evaluation. If you wish to create an account and order a subscription at the same time, click "Sign In" from the GBI home page and select the option "Purchase a subscription to Green Globes NC or CIEB."

14. How do I create a GBI User Account?

From the GBI website click "Sign In." Select "Register for a GBI User Account," complete the user information, accept the End User License Agreement, and click "Submit for Confirmation."  Review your information and click "Send Registration/Payment."

15. I already have a GBI User Account and/or a free trial. How do I order a subscription to the online evaluation?

  • Log in to your GBI User Account.
  • From your account home page under My GBI Products & Services, select "Manage my Subscriptions."
  • Under the Purchase/Upgrade Subscriptions section, enter the type and quantity you wish to purchase.
  • Click "Select Buildings."
  • Select your preferred payment method and enter payment information. Click "Submit for Confirmation."
  • Review your order and click "Submit for Processing."

16. After ordering a Green Globes subscription, when will I have access to the online evaluation?

The GBI will activate your subscription to the online evaluation upon receipt of payment.

17. Is the functionality of the Green Globes 30-day Free Trial identical to the purchased program?

No. Free trial users may enter data and complete the online questionnaire for all sections, and data is stored within the Green Globes database. However, access to assessment area scores, report feedback, and improvement suggestions is limited. At any time during or after a free trial, users may upgrade to a paid subscription to the online evaluation and full functionality will become available.

18. How long does my subscription to the Green Globes online evaluation last?

The online evaluation for Green Globes Continual Improvement of Existing Buildings (CIEB) remains active for up to one year from the date payment is received.

Upon commencement of the third-party assessment, editing of the Green Globes online evaluation should be restricted to the assessor and GBI administrators. Once certification is complete for a particular building, the subscription is considered expired and no changes may be made to the online evaluation. The online evaluation for Green Globes for New Construction (NC) projects is available for users to edit until the user submits their completed survey, and completed surveys can be viewed (but not edited) indefinitely.

19. How do I access my project?

To access a project already within the system:

  • Log in to your GBI User Account.
  • From your account home page under My GBI Tools, select "Go to Green Globes NC" or "Go to Green Globes CIEB."
  • Select the project from your Project List.

20. How do I add my project/building in the Green Globes System?

  • Log in to your GBI User Account.
  • From your account home page under My GBI Tools, select "Go to Green Globes NC" or "Go to Green Globes CIEB."
  • Select "Add a new building" (CIEB) or "Add New Project" (NC).
  • Enter the basic building information.
  • Click Save and Continue.

21. How do I get a quote for my project?

To request a quote for Green Globes certification, please download, complete, and return the applicable Quote Request Form. If you have questions, contact GBI at (877) 424-4241 or

22. How do I order a third-party assessment?

  • Log in to your GBI User Account.
  • From your account home page under My GBI Tools, select "Order Green Globes Certification for my Building."
  • Enter your quote number and click "Lookup Quote."
  • Select the appropriate Assessor Travel Cost.
  • Enter the Project Contact Information.
  • Enter the Building/Project Information.
  • Select your preferred payment method and enter payment information.
  • Click "Submit for Confirmation."
  • Review and accept the Assessment Services Agreement.
  • Review your order and click "Confirm your Purchase."
  • Upon receipt of your order, GBI will send a confirmation email to the username email address.