Sustainable Solutions & Green Building Certifications
Which sustainable system and certification is right for my project?
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Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is a set of rating systems for the design, construction, operation, and maintenance of green buildings, homes and neighborhoods. Developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), LEED is intended to help building owners and operators be environmentally responsible and use resources efficiently.
The U.S. EPA's ENERGY STAR program has developed energy performance rating systems for several commercial and institutional building types and manufacturing facilities. These ratings, on a scale of 1 to 100, provide a means for benchmarking the energy efficiency of specific buildings and industrial plants against the energy performance of similar facilities. The ratings are used by building and energy managers to evaluate the energy performance of existing buildings and industrial plants. The rating systems are also used by EPA to determine if a building or plant can qualify to earn ENERGY STAR recognition.
Green Building Initiative (GBI) is a nonprofit organization that administers green building assessment and certification services in the United States. It was established in 2004 and is headquartered in Portland, Oregon. The GBI is the U.S. licensee of the Green Globes rating system.The GBI Guiding Principles are a set of established criteria for federal agencies who have committed to "federal leadership in the design, construction, and operation of High-Performance and Sustainable Buildings."
Energy modeling accounts for all systems within a building and examines how they impact each other. For instance, while a certain lighting system may be extremely bright, it may release excessive heat that the building’s cooling system must offset in the summer months.
An energy modeling program can even incorporate data on human usage – right down to details about the heat and respiration humans expel. An energy model also includes data on local weather patterns. In this way, energy modeling helps architects understand the outcomes of their design choices. FCM Engineering performs ASHRAE level 1,2 & 3 energy audits on commercial facilities.
Commissioning is a systematic process of ensuring that all building systems perform interactively according to the design intent and the owner’s operational needs. This is achieved by beginning in the design phase, documenting the design intent and continuing through construction, acceptance and the warranty period with actual verification of performance.
Commissioning during the construction of a project is intended to achieve specific objectives according to the Contract Documents.
Florida Green Building Coalition Green Commercial Building Certification covers all commercial occupancies listed in the Florida Building Code. The intent of the FGBC Green Commercial Building Standard is to encourage building owners to adopt green and sustainable strategies during the design and construction of their project and to receive recognition for their efforts.
When the project achieves the required score for certification, the FGBC issues a certificate for use by the owner. The project is listed on the FGBC website as a certified Florida Green Commercial Building. The FGBC will also issue a press release announcing the project certification and feature the project in Florida Green Building magazine.