Green Building Programs

Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) is a certification system established by the U. S. Green Building Council. Its main objective is to provide a framework for practical and measurable building design, construction, operations, and maintenance solutions. LEED is recognized in the United States and around the world as the best way to demonstrate that your building is up to standard.

Obtaining LEED certification offers compelling proof to your clients, peers, and the public that your building is environmentally friendly. Certification makes you eligible for government incentives. The process of getting LEED certification starts at the design phase of your project. Setting a clear environmental goal and hiring LEED-accredited architects, consultants, and engineers is a tip for pursuing certification.

Building Performance Institute (BPI) provides training and certification for individuals across North America. They are the leading developer of technical standards for home performance and weatherization retrofit work. Many state-run energy efficiency and weatherization jobs require BPI credentials. Obtaining BPI certification requires training and the passing of both written and field examinations. This is a relatively new and thriving industry and certification will definitely put you in demand and on top for employment.

The Industry is expected to employ over 14million workers. Retrofitting buildings, mass transit, efficient cars, wind power, solar power, and cellulosic biomass fuels are determined to be the six largest areas of job growth. Many blue-collar professionals could harness skills they already have and carry them over to this new and booming industry. For example, sheet metal workers could apply their skills to making wind power farms. Carpenters and roofers could install solar panels. Factory workers could help build greener cars and equipment. These workers will be able to demand higher wages and will have better job security. If you are looking for a new career or want to rev up your existing one, then you may want to jump on this bandwagon. All around the world people are trying to make better choices in business and in their personal lives. Even fast food restaurants are now serving healthier foods because people are demanding more nutritious diets.

California has the most stringent and environmentally friendly building code in the United States. Calgreen is the building standards code in California that took effect at the beginning of 2011. The goal is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and control energy and water consumption. California is leading the way towards greener and advanced building practices in an effort to reduce waste and conserve resources. The goal of California is to achieve 33% renewable energy by 2020. Previous legislation was the Green Building Standards Code passed in 2009, however, this code was optional, and Calgreen is the first mandatory compliance. Under Calgreen all new buildings have to reduce water consumption by 20%, divert 50% of waste from landfills, and require separate water meters for nonresidential buildings. In order to become Calgreen compliant you have to pass a state building inspection.

The green index is the measurement of a products impact on the environment. Currently, there are not any strict guidelines governing how a product is rated. Companies are allowed to make their own indexes and rate their own products. However, most companies consider the same issues when developing their policies. A policy should include the amount of energy conserved. Conserving energy means using more renewable energy and doing away with non-renewable sources. The goal here is to simply have the lowest energy bill possible. Along with saving energy, saving water should be of high priority when developing a policy. Recycling and waste reduction are next on the list. Recycling is one of the best ways to reduce waste, and is what most companies use to measure this area.


Macmallah's picture

Energy Star

Also, one of the most important Energy Programs is Energy Star. Energy Star is a joint program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency EPA and the U.S. Department of Energy DOE helping Americans save money and protect the environment through energy efficient products and practices.


For homes, Energy Star educates residents about Energy efficient choices which can save families about a third on their energy bills with similar savings of greenhouse gas emissions, without sacrificing features, style or comfort.


For Business, Energy Star offers a proven energy management strategy that helps in measuring current energy performance, setting goals, tracking savings, and rewarding improvements. This strategy can produce economic, environmental and social positive impacts.  


EPA provides also an inventive energy performance rating system which businesses have already used for more than 200,000 buildings across the country. EPA also recognizes top performing buildings with the Energy Star.


Energy Star rating can:

  1. Indicate building’s energy efficiency, which helps to decide value of energy projects
  2. Show occupants and customers that building owners are concerned about energy and the environment
  3. Increase the value of commercial buildings because of the savings associated with Energy Management projects.
  4. Help obtain USGBC LEED for existing building certification


Using Energy Star rating in LEED

In LEED for Existing Buildings Operations & Maintenance EBOM 2009, the Category of Energy and Atmosphere mandates that the Minimum Program Requirements MPR in EAp2 to be Energy Star rating equal or more than 69 or energy efficiency equal or more than 19% better than national average. This determines how energy-efficient the project building is compared with the national average for similar building types. If the project building is already performing well, the project team may only need to document that performance in order to meet the prerequisite.


If the project building is relatively inefficient, the team may have to make operational changes or capital investments to make some improvements. If the building is underperforming the team may start by performing an energy audit to identify areas of waste and the best opportunities for improving efficiency.


EPA’s Energy Star Portfolio Manager needs to be used to track a minimum 12 months of data for all energy consumption. The data are then benchmarked based on source Energy Use Intensity (EUI) to show compliance.


Energy Use Intensity EUI is a unit of measurement that describes a building’s energy use. EUI represents the energy consumed by a building relative to its size.  Most buildings will be benchmarked through Energy Star to document the prerequisite.


To ensure national comparability, climate data is used to normalize energy consumption to compare the project building to similar buildings in similar climate zones, eliminating potential regional variations.


After having the project building’s energy performance documented for EAp2: Minimum Energy Efficiency Performance, then EAc1 will require the team to focus on improving operational performance and, in some cases, upgrading to more efficient equipment to get more points on the same credit.


The team can use the energy audit results from EAp2 to develop a strategy to enhance Energy Efficiency, identify and implement no-cost and low-cost opportunities to reduce energy consumption, such as changing heating and cooling set points by one or two degrees and reminding occupants to turn off lights and office equipment when not in use. Capital investments may see relatively prompt paybacks because of reduced utility costs and the chance of incentives through federal or regional programs.