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Green Globes – Sustainable Interiors Introduced

Jun 2014

Exciting News!

The Green Building Initiative recently launched Green Globes® – Sustainable Interiors at the NeoCon Conference in Chicago, June 8 – 11, 2014.  As part of the technical committee at GBI, I’ve been working on this new green building rating system that includes similar requirements to the Green Globes – New Construction rating system, with the exception that more points are focused on Materials and Resources because of the interior fit-out project type.

So how are products evaluated within the new Green Globes® – Sustainable Interiors?  Many trade association and product manufacturers are asking the same questions!  An approach that uses performance and comparison for the appropriate application is utilized throughout the Green Globes® – Sustainable Interiors building rating system, as it is throughout the family of Green Globes® rating system products.

Materials and Resources

The Materials and Resources section is worth 250 points out of the 1000 points available for the Green Globes® – Sustainable Interiors rating system.  There are two paths of compliance for Interior Fit-outs.  Path A is the Performance Path, which includes a relative comparison of a minimum of two alternative interior fit-out life cycle assessments (including finishes and furnishings) completed during the design phase.  Although completing an interior fit-out life cycle assessment is an aspirational credit, it was included to be consistent with the other Green Globes products.  As new tools continue to be developed, there will be a credit already in place that provides a life cycle assessment comparison option.  Path B, Prescriptive Path for Interior Fit-outs, is anticipated to be the most utilized path for compliance.  This path describes ways to comply with appropriate application and specification of comparable products, through identifying 10% or more of the interior fit-out materials and products that comply with one or more of the following:

  • Comparing products utilizing transparency information in the form of Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs); both Industry Wide (generic) and Manufacturer Specific.
  • Third-party certifications that are based upon a multiple attribute standard developed by a consensus based process, such as ANSI.
  • Third-party certified product assessment based on ISO 14040 and 14044; covering cradle to gate scope, as a minimum.
  • Third-party sustainable forestry certifications.  Being that wood is different than a manufactured product and follows a chain of custody, it has been broken out separately from multiple attribute standards.

Further credits address minimized usage of interior materials.  Examples include furnishings that serve multiple functions, interior fit-out design that allows for future deconstruction, demounting and disassembly that fosters potential future reconfiguration.  Items such as modular furniture and casework, as well as interior demountable partitions are part of the sustainable survey.  Waste is also addressed in the Materials and Resources section, including interior building demolition waste and diversion from being landfilled.

Occupant / consumer based recycling programs are included that address storage areas and designated spaces at point of service for recycling containers and identification of designated pick-up areas.  Operational flows and circulation are addressed to handle recycling programs, as well as opportunities for composting.

Prefabrication of components for an interior fit-out are included in the credits within the survey; utilizing the idea that pre-fabricated versus conventional construction methods often reduce waste, both from a manufacturing perspective, as well as within an actual construction site for a project.  This would include items like wall and/or partition panels that are built off-site and installed on-site.

Extending Building Service Life is a strong basis for true sustainability.  Providing opportunities to understand the return on investment, as well as the durability and performance of products to establish a building service life that aligns with an organization’s cycle renovation schedule is key to creating on-going sustainable practices once a building has been completed.  In addition to building service life, there is also a need for evaluating and testing green cleaning products on surfaces and finishes that are being specified.  In order to verify that a product is going to meet the building service life requirements, cleaning and maintaining surfaces and products is part of the evaluation of continual improvement and sustainability.

The Materials and Resources section addresses the reuse of non-structural elements such as ceilings, partitions, doors and frames, cabinetry and furnishings.  It is intended to evaluate the existing conditions to verify if there are components that can be maintained or updated that reduce the need for new products.

The other environmental assessment areas for Green Globes® – Sustainable Interiors include Project Management, Energy, Water, Emissions and Other Impacts, and Indoor Environment.  It is wonderful to see something that is a rigorous green building rating system for interiors that is supported for ease of use through technology.  I encourage readers to spread the word that this is available!

For more information on the introduction of Green Globes® – Sustainable Interiors, visit EcoBuilding Pulse.