Green Globes Multifamily for Existing Buildings

Practical Pathways to Incremental Improvement

Green Globes Multifamily for Existing Buildings (Green Globes MF EB) provides a certification option that meets the needs of owners and project teams with multifamily projects. Green Globes MF EB includes:

  • Minimum requirements for energy and water efficiency that ensure resource conservation through operations and tenant best practices
  • Flexibility and multiple pathways to success
  • A question set that prompts users to think critically about their project
  • Third-party Assessor onsite review providing assurance of certification claims
  • GBI customer service and technical support for step-by-step guidance

These attributes make Green Globes the first choice for multifamily existing buildings. By engaging with Green Globes and reading through the question set in this manual, you will discover new ways to adopt green building best practices in your multifamily project.


For many industry members, the expectation has been that achieving sustainable building certification must be costly and bureaucratic to be effective. GBI rejects that concept and has crafted an assessment program that is time- and cost-effective through Green Globes. Paperwork does not have to be laborious when a well-qualified Assessor visits the site and visually verifies the attributes of a building. A building team can have peace of mind knowing that their client service team will be supportive and transparent throughout the entire certification process. Green Globes is developed by the building industry for the building industry and has been deemed equivalent to other leading rating systems by the U.S. General Services Administration, Department of Energy, and Department of Defense. Large, progressive portfolio owners across the United States use Green Globes with the understanding that they can achieve improved sustainability results through a simple and seamless process. Green Globes provides a platform for multifamily project teams to engage in the sustainability conversation and continue learning during the certification process.

Minimum Requirements for Green Globes Multifamily (EB)

To be certified through Green Globes Multifamily for Existing Buildings, projects must achieve all Minimum Requirements for either Energy or Water. In addition, projects must also achieve a minimum 35% total score out of all applicable points in the Green Globes Multifamily program. Minimum Requirements are required to be eligible for the program but are separate from the criteria used in the assessment. Points are awarded for criteria within the survey, not for meeting the minimum requirements.

Select either Energy or Water Minimum Requirements.

ENERGY MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS

Demonstrate 15% or greater energy consumption savings over respective established baseline and meet all three (3) Energy Minimum Requirements.

1. Energy Performance

Choose either the ENERGY STAR® Portfolio Manager Path or the Energy Consumption Savings Path.

1.A ENERGY STAR® Portfolio Manager Path

Projects following the ENERGY STAR® Portfolio Manager Path must choose one of the following two options:

  • Option 1: ENERGY STAR® Score - For multifamily properties with 20 or more units. Achieve an ENERGY STAR energy performance score of 70 or greater using the Portfolio Manager program.

OR

  • Option 2: EUI Reduction - Demonstrate 15% reduction of energy use intensity (EUI) compared to the national median source EUI.

1.B Energy Consumption Savings Path

For multifamily properties with less than 20 units and no energy model, demonstrate 15% or greater energy consumption savings over respective established baseline. Compare whole building energy data from previous 12 months against 3 contiguous years of energy consumption use within the previous 9 years (normalized for climate and occupancy). All data must be input into ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager.

2. Energy Efficient Equipment & Products

Confirm Operations & Maintenance (O&M) policy to install ENERGY STAR-labeled, FEMP-designated, and/or AHAM Verifide energy efficient products and appliances (including clothes washers, dishwashers, and refrigerators), when such products and/or appliances are being replaced. Put into place an O&M policy for energy efficient equipment and products if there is no policy.

ENERGY STAR Qualified Product Lists: http://www.energystar.gov

Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) Energy and Water Efficient Products: http://www1.eere.energy.gov/femp

AHAM Verifide: http://ahamverifide.org/search-for-products/

3. Energy Performance Monitoring & Tracking

Confirm that the local utility or on-site master energy meter(s) provide, at a minimum, aggregated whole-project energy consumption data for each energy utility type. Where local utility or current meters do not provide such data, install energy meters that do.

Commit to entering energy consumption data into ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager to track ongoing performance and sharing of that data with Green Building Initiative. Document for future performance verification.

WATER MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS

Demonstrate 15% or greater water consumption savings over respective established baseline and meet both Water Minimum Requirements.

1. Water Consumption Savings

Choose either the Prescriptive Path or the Performance Path:

1.A Prescriptive Path – Low Flow Fixtures and Fittings

Projects following the Prescriptive Path for Water Consumption Savings must replace water fixtures and fittings with WaterSense-labeled low flow fixtures and fittings where installed and/or supplied. In lieu of the WaterSense label, replace with low flow fixtures and fittings that meet or exceed prescribed, more stringent volume ratings:

1.Private lavatory faucets – 0.8 gpm

2.Public lavatory faucets – 0.5 gpm

3.Kitchen faucets – 1.5 gpm

4.Showerheads – 1.75 gpm

1.B Performance Path – EPA 1-100 Water Score

Projects following the Performance Path for Water Consumption Savings must achieve 15% or greater water consumption savings by achieving a water score of 70 or greater using EPA’s 1-100 Water Score for Multifamily Buildings within Portfolio Manager.

Portfolio Manager Technical Reference – EPA Water Score for Multifamily Housing in the United States: https://www.energystar.gov/buildings/tools-and-resources/portfolio_manager_technical_reference_epa_water_score_multifamily_housing_united

2. Water Performance Monitoring & Tracking

Confirm that the local utility or on-site master water meter(s) provide, at a minimum, aggregated whole-project water consumption data. Where local utility or current meters do not provide such data install water meters that do.

Commit to entering water consumption data into ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager to track ongoing performance and sharing of that data with Green Building Initiative. Document for future performance verification.

*Note on Whole Building Consumption Data

If you don’t currently have 12 months of data to use as your baseline, you can still use Green Globes to establish your baseline, receive upgrade recommendations from the final assessment process, and then use the Green Globes Multifamily EB tool again 12 months after improvements are made to show your savings.

Exception Policy

GBI reserves the right to issue energy or water exceptions on a case-by-case basis as needed for unique circumstances, e.g., function of the building requires a limited amount of high flow fixtures. Multifamily projects must still meet the 15% or greater energy or water consumption savings requirement.


Ready to get started but not sure how? 

This video will answer a lot of your initial questions.