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Green Globes Precedes WELL Building Standard: History Repeats Itself

Nov 2016

As designers and architects, we see how design trends move through a repetitive cycle over a number of years. For example, colors and styles come back around, similar to the fashion industry, but are “worn” for much longer in the built environment.

The same is happening in “green” standards.

I attended a session at Greenbuild on the WELL Building Standard®. There was an introduction, as a “new” concept, of an assessor as a part of the certification process. While this is new in the context of LEED® building rating systems, third-party assessors have always been used for Green Globes® – New Construction (NC), Continual Improvement for Existing Buildings (CIEB), and Sustainable Interiors (SI).

Many of the items included within the WELL Building Standard® as preconditions have been part of the criteria for Green Globes-CIEB for years. For example, air quality standards, no smoking within a building, air filtration, and IEQ control have all been part of the electronic survey questions that make up the CIEB tool. The third-party assessor goes on site and evaluates policies and procedures, inspects the physical plant, takes measurements for lighting levels as required, and completes verification of responses to the questions completed electronically. Recommendations are provided for further continual improvement and to assist with future planning of sustainable operations.

The Optimizing credits for the WELL Building Standard® are also reflected in the Green Globes® – CIEB module.  The Green Building Initiative is currently programming updates to the CIEB module – providing adjustments based upon updated content derived from the current GBI/ANSI process. The largest difference between the WELL Building Standard® and Green Globes® – CIEB is that the GG-CIEB does not have prerequisites, allowing operations and the building type to strive for measures of continual improvement;  respecting that sustainability goals and requirements change and grow dynamically. The Green Building Initiative has been working diligently to stay current within the fast-paced and everchanging world of sustainable buildings and operations evaluation.  This is further demonstrated by their compliance tools for achieving compliance with the Federal Guiding Principles, which were updated earlier this year.

Information about the author...

Jane Rohde is the founding Principal of JSR Associates, Inc. located in Ellicott City, Maryland and a columnist for Interiors & Sources Magazine focusing on healthcare and sustainability topics.  Jane is the recipient of the Center for Health Design’s 2015 Environments for Aging Changemaker Award and speaks internationally on senior living, aging, healthcare, evidence based design and sustainability.  For more information or comments, please contact Jane Rohde.