Pipeline Preparation

Given the green building movement’s momentum, some sources suggest it might be difficult for a single body to rate all the existing and new buildings seeking certification. Dan Winters, managing principal at specialty realty advisor Evolution Partners in Washington, D.C., and chairman of his local U.S. Green Building Council chapter, points to the volume faced by the council, given there are some 25,000 buildings set to join the existing 1,200 or so LEED-certified commercial properties. “Their ability to certify in a timely fashion will make or break that rating system,” he declared.The huge pipeline helps explain the Green Globes alternative’s online format. As Mark Rossolo, the director of state and local outreach for the Green Building Initiative, the program’s U.S. administering body, noted, projections point to 20 million additional U.S. buildings (including residences) on the way in coming years. Green Globes has formally certified 14 commercial buildings across the country (as of late March) and has another 150 or so in processing.But Michelle Moore, the U.S. Green Building Council senior vice president overseeing residential programs, observed that it took the council seven years to get the first 1 billion square feet of buildings LEED certified, then just another seven months to reach 3.2 billion. “Volume has grown tremendously, but we’re ready,” Moore said. The Green Building Council now typically receives an average of 150 new LEED ratings applications each week.The Green Building Council continues transforming the certification process to allow for ever higher volume, including expanding the building review network and developing more tools allowing for greater online management. And the LEED-Online initiative is helping speed certification of large corporate real estate portfolios.“Given Green Globes’ online format, I think once LEED-Online hits its stride, we’ll see higher-volume ratings processing at both organizations,” Rossolo observed. “Obviously, you can go faster electronically—and that itself is a sustainable practice.”And true long-term success will ultimately render Rossolo’s job obsolete. “Hopefully, we’ll get to the point where certification from Green Globes, NAHB, LEED or anyone else won’t be necessary because everyone builds green.”For further comparison of the existing green certification programs now available, see the May 1 issue of CPN or search for key words “Why Way to Green?” in quotation marks on www.cpnonline.com.