Many Green Building programs and standards exist with different definitions & scopes. They often all seek to improve the quality of the environment and encourage the proper maintenance and efficient utilization of resources from the land, air and water. "Focused" programs emphasize only one or two of the following elements listed below, whereas, "In-Depth" Green Building programs involve all of the following building elements:
Green Buildings are just a starting point toward realizing company efficiencies. Life Cycle Assessments offer an opportunity to grow beyond this starting point by concentrating on the materials element of a company's daily process.
Life Cycle Assessments (LCA) evaluate a product's overall environmental performance from Cradle-to-Grave, at a point where resources are gathered from the Earth to the point where they return: from raw material acquisition, to manufacture, to production, to use/reuse, to maintenance, to landfill. The results help decision-makers select products or processes that perform the best and costs less throughout an activity while maintaining the smallest environmental footprint. A Life Cycle Assessment is a thorough study of a product's Environmental Impact since it allows one to measure across all four Environmental Resource Mediums: land, air, water and energy. We evaluate life cycle costs of alternatives to help owners justify the investment.
DNV GL Certification an active participant of the USGBC LEED program is one of seven certification bodies appropriately accredited and chosen to perform duties directly for the Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI). While being accredited to ISO 17021 and ISO 65, as part of a technical contract with the GBCI.
DNV GL certification performed over 600 LEED project reviews. DNV GL - Business Assurance US offers Certification Administration or Consulting Services for the following programs:
The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED™) Green Building Rating System is an internationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high-performance green buildings. The LEED™ rating system allots points within six specific categories for environmentally beneficial building materials and design. Categories include: site location, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, and indoor environmental quality. LEED ™ is a comprehensive way for any professional, business, or organization to master green building standards and practices.
An ENERGY STAR qualified facility meets strict energy performance standards set by EPA by using less energy, it is less expensive to operate, and causes fewer greenhouse gas emissions than its comparable facilities. Energy use in commercial buildings and manufacturing plants accounts for nearly half of all energy consumption in the U.S. at a cost of over $200 billion per year, which is more than any other sector of the economy.
ISO has identified energy management as a priority area because of the significant potential to save energy and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions worldwide meriting the development and promotion of International Standards. Effective energy management is a priority focus because of the significant potential to save energy and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions worldwide.
Existing ISO standards for quality management practices (ISO 9000 series) and environmental management systems (ISO 14000 series) have successfully stimulated substantial, continuous efficiency improvements within organizations around the globe. An energy management standard is expected to similarly achieve major, long-term increases in energy efficiency.
Read about DNV GL's hosting of an important ISO 50001 meeting.
Cost and Green Buildings
The cost of going green is often raised as an issue. Thoughtful project planning and team coordination, a process known as "integrated design", helps ensure that green components are integrated into the project as cost effectively and efficiently as possible. In many cases, "green" does not cost more. In other cases, efficient HVAC equipment, additional insulation, water efficient fixtures, etc. may cost more upfront, but operating costs can be significantly reduced through the life of the building by way of lower utility bills and reduced maintenance. Information and studies on the cost of green building are continually being published. The US Green Building Council maintains an up-to-date list of cost studies for green buildings.