Professional Standardization and Certification

By Staff July 20, 2001
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“Build it Green”

As “green building” ideas and commitment grows so do the opportunities to gain professional certification and recognition in the field. Certification provides recognition of professional knowledge and advancement in the field of ‘green buildings.’ In addition, there is an increasing call for standardizing or rating green buildings and related components. Those involved in these processes include private sector and government entities. The burgeoning movement of certification and rating includes the following:

  • Built Green
    The Master Builders Association recently introduced the nation’s most comprehensive green building program to the Puget Sound region. Called Built Green, it was designed by builder members of the Master Builders Association and other interested parties, including King County, Snohomish County, and the city of Seattle. The program educates builders about environmentally friendly building techniques and educates consumers about the housing options available to them. The four main program areas are: site selection and development that protects salmon habitat; selection of materials that account for occupant health and durability of the home; energy conservation; and indoor air quality.

  • European Green Building Forum
    This forum is a non-profit organization supported by the European Commission Directorate General for Energy. The Forum is based on a balanced coalition of leading organizations committed to improving the environmental quality and performance of buildings and urban built environment and to promote the accelerated implementation of the Green Building technologies, standards and design practices. The European Green Building Forum involves all sectors of the building industry including environmental groups, government agencies, product manufactures, utilities, investors, offering some practical solutions through the quality of information on specific building sectors.

  • Institute of Building Construction Technology
    Developed by the Energy & Environmental Building Association, this is a professional development curriculum for the building industry. It was created to meet the demands of its membership and building professionals in search of the latest research and technology to be delivered to the field in interactive educational training session. The Institute features a building science and practice based professional development curriculum specifically designed for the quickly changing building industry. The Institute is an educational resource for new technologies and innovations, the latest research findings, as well as, the basics in building science.

  • Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) Professional Certification
    As quoted on the web site ‘The LEED Green Building Rating System’ is a priority program of the U.S. Green Building Council. It is a voluntary, consensus-based, market-driven building rating system based on existing proven technology. It evaluates environmental performance from a ‘whole building’ perspective over a building’s life cycle, providing a definitive standard for what constitutes a ‘green building’. LEED is based on accepted energy and environmental principles and strikes a balance between known effective practices and emerging concepts. Unlike other rating systems currently in existence, the development of LEED Green Building Rating System was instigated by the US Green Council Membership, representing all segments of the building industry. and has been open to public scrutiny. LEED is a self-assessing system designed for rating new and existing commercial, institutional, and high-rise residential buildings. It is a feature-oriented system where credits are earned for satisfying each criterion. Different levels of green building certification are awarded based on the total credits earned. The system is designed to be comprehensive in scope, yet simple in operation. There are no prerequisites for registering for the LEED Accredited Professional Examination, however, it is strongly recommended that candidates have tenure in the building design and construction industry and/or as a building business professional or a facilities staff or executive.

  • National Institute of Building Sciences
    NIBS is a non-profit, non-governmental organization bringing together representatives of government, the professions, industry, labor and consumer interests to focus on the identification and resolution of problems and potential problems that hamper the construction of safe, affordable structures for housing, commerce and industry throughout the United States. NIBS has 11 affiliated organizations and one relates to ‘green building’ issues. The Building Environment & Thermal Envelope Council (BETEC is charged with encouraging optimum energy use of buildings through a better understanding of how overall, complex building components interact with each other and with the environment. Objectives of BETEC include develop a sound technical and economic foundation for optimum energy efficiency in the design, construction, operation, and modification of new and existing buildings through the coordination of research, development, and verification programs; to expedite the use of existing and new technologies in building practice through improved coordination of the activities of the various components of the building community; and to integrate technical programs on fire safety and thermal comfort with the thermal performance of building envelopes.

  • National Institute of Standards & Technology
    The Building Environment Division reduces the cost of designing and operating buildings and increases the international competitiveness of the U.S. building industry by providing modeling, measurement, and test methods needed to use advanced computation and automation effectively in construction, to improve the quality of the indoor environment, and to improve the performance of building equipment and systems. The Building Environment Division conducts laboratory, field, and analytical research on building mechanical and control systems; develops data, measurement methods and modeling techniques for the performance of the building envelope, its insulation systems, building air leakage, and the release, movement and absorption of indoor air pollutants, and develops standard communication protocols for building management systems and performance criteria, interface standards, and test methods for the Nation’s building industry to make effective use of modern computer-aided design hardware and software and database management systems. The Building Environment Division began a Green Building Research and Demonstration Program in 1994.

  • Residential Energy Services Network
    RESNET’s mission is to improve the energy efficiency of the nation’s housing stock and to qualify more families for home ownership by expanding the national availability of mortgage financing options and home energy ratings. RESNET is a national network of mortgage companies, real estate brokerages, builders, appraisers, utilities and other housing and energy professionals. RESNET’s activities are guided by a mortgage industry steering committee composed of the leading national mortgage executives. RESNET also offers the following standards and guidelines: Mortgage Industry National Home Energy Rating System Accreditation Standard, NASEO Home Energy Rating Technical Guidelines, RESNET National Rater Training and Certifying Standard and RESNET Building Option Package Providers Accreditation Standard.

  • U.S. EPA ENERGY STAR program
    This program was introduced by the U.S. Environmental Protection Association in 1992 as a voluntary labeling program designed to identify and promote energy-efficient products in order to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. EPA partnered with the U.S. Department of Energy in 1996 to promote the ENERGY STAR label, with each agency taking responsibility for particular product categories. ENERGY STAR has expanded to cover new homes, most of the buildings sector, residential heating and cooling equipment, major appliances, office equipment, lighting, consumer electronics, and more product areas.