October 16, 2014
GBI Celebrates a Decade of Growth and Influence
The Green Building Initiative (GBI) celebrates 10 years of promoting green building during October, 2014. GBI is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to accelerate the adoption of building practices that result in energy-efficient, healthier and environmentally sustainable buildings by promoting credible and practical green building approaches for commercial construction.
At its founding, GBI was heavily focused on residential green building and assisted many local Homebuilder Associations with green building programs. The residential focus continues today with GBI’s certification programs for multifamily housing. However, by 2007 it became apparent that the National Association of Homebuilders was going to develop its own green home rating system and GBI turned its attention to the commercial market.
Early on, GBI acquired the rights to develop the Green Globes rating system for the U.S. market. Since 2010, GBI has continually refined the system to ensure that it reflects changing expectations for green building and ongoing advances in building technology, and, in so doing, to involve multiple stakeholders in an open and transparent process for developing green building rating systems.
In 2005, GBI became the first U.S. green building organization to be accredited as a standards developer by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), and began the process of establishing Green Globes as an official ANSI standard. The GBI ANSI technical committee was formed in early 2006 and in 2010 the official Green Globes New Construction Assessment Methodology for Commercial Buildings was released. GBI’s 2010 ANSI standard was, and remains, the first and only national consensus standard for commercial green building created through accepted consensus procedures.
In 2009, the GBI launched the first version of its Green Globes Professional (GGP) program (v1) to begin to create a community of experts across the nation. In 2013, the GGP training was updated and approved by the American Institute of Architects for continuing education credit.
In 2011 GBI was the first organization to establish a set of criteria for federal agencies committed to "federal leadership in the design, construction, and operation of High-Performance and Sustainable Buildings" offering Guiding Principles Compliance third-party certification aimed at implementing the requirements of President Obama’s 2009 Executive Order 13514, requiring achievement of sustainable outcomes from Federal building operations.
In 2013, after a year-long study by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, the General Services Administration and the Department of Defense both recognized Green Globes as one of only two rating systems recommended for Federal projects. This conclusion was reinforced in October 2014 by the U.S. Department of Energy in a rule-making process.
In 2014, GBI brought on board as its new President a national authority in green building, Jerry Yudelson, PE, LEED Fellow. Yudelson has helped GBI to continue to refine its product offerings and to contribute to the national dialog on green building. Yudelson is particularly focused on showcasing the strengths and future opportunities for development of the organization and its range of tools.
In 2014, GBI introduced Green Globes for Sustainable Interiors, a unique rating system for assessing sustainability in interior design, and also expanded its unique Guiding Principles Compliance program to assess sustainability in new construction of Federal buildings.
Also in 2014, GBI formally launched an update of its national green building assessment standard for commercial buildings, creating a new ANSI Consensus Body, and tasking it to deliver an updated new construction rating system before the end of 2015.
As it enters its second decade of growth, the Green Building Initiative plans to orient its rating systems to tackle the single biggest issue of our times: climate change, and to bring to market user-friendly green building rating and assessment tools that allow building owners and facility managers to measure, monitor and achieve sustainable outcomes, especially with respect to energy and water use.
GBI’s President, Jerry Yudelson, said, “As an organization, GBI has come a long way in its first 10 years, but the task ahead is a large one: becoming a nationally significant rating system that will challenge established market participants for thought leadership and market dominance. We’re eager to embrace this challenge, and we’re assembling the staff and resources to help us implement ‘a practical approach to green building.’”
Ray Tonjes, a green builder from Austin, Texas, has served as GBI’s chair since its founding. He says, “It has been exciting to be a part of the GBI as it has grown and developed over the past ten years; I’m looking forward to seeing how our Board and staff will continue to grow the organization to meet the challenges ahead, to promote more climate-friendly and socially responsible building design, construction and operations.”