Green Globes — About Green Globes

Green Globes - About Green Globes

About Green Globes


Green Globes is an online green building rating and certification tool that is used primarily in Canada and the USA. Green Globes was developed by ECD Energy and Environment Canada, an arms-length division of JLL. Green Globes is licensed for use by BOMA Canada (Existing Buildings) and the Green Building Initiative in the USA (New and Existing Buildings). There are Green Globes modules for:

  • New Construction/Significant Renovations
  • Commercial Interiors (i.e. Office Fit-ups)
  • Existing Buildings (offices, multi-residential, retail, health care, light industrial)

The Green Globes New Construction assessment can be used for a wide range of commercial, institutional and multi-residential building types including offices, school, hospitals, hotels, academic and industrial facilities, warehouses, laboratories, sports facilities and multi-residential buildings.

A Brief History

Green Globes - About Green Globes

The genesis of Green Globes, similar to LEED and many other systems around the world was BREEAM. developed in the UK in the 1980’s. Based on the 1996 CSA publication of BREEAM Canada. Green Globes for Existing Buildings was developed in 2000 by ECD Energy and Environmental Canada i. Green Globes for New Buildings Canada followed shortly thereafter, with the support of the Canadian Department of National Defense and Public Works and Government Services. In 2004, the system was adapted for the USA, where it is administered by the GBI. a standards developer through the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). Since then, the assessments have undergone numerous periodic updates including the addition of building types, the most recent being the updates to New Construction and Office Fit-ups modules based on the ANSI/GBI 01-2010: Green Building Assessment Protocol for Commercial Buildings.

In Canada, the program for existing buildings is licensed to and administered by the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA Canada) and has been rebranded as BOMA BESt (B uilding E nvironmental St andards). As of 2013, there were over 3,000 buildings that have been certified or recertified across Canada using BOMA BESt. Since 2011, there have been 1,700 certified buildings. Each year, BOMA Canada releases a report called BOMA Building Energy and Environmental Report. which summarizes and analyzes the performance of the buildings that have been certified to BOMA BESt in the preceding year.

In 2004, the Green Building Initiative acquired the U.S rights to the Green Globes building assessment and certification program and adapted it for the U.S. market as an alternative to the LEED building rating system. The GBI administers modules for New Construction (NC), Continual Improvement of Existing Buildings (CIEB), and CIEB Healthcare for the healthcare industry. The GBI offers these programs to builders, designers and building managers. ii In 2005, the GBI was accredited as a standards developer through the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). iii The GBI developed the ANSI/GBI 01-2010: Green Building Assessment Protocol for Commercial Buildings to guide the development of Green Globes products. In 2011 the GBI developed the Guiding Principles Compliance Program (GPC) to measure compliance with the Federal Guiding Principles for Sustainable Buildings as required by Executive Order 13514 signed in 2009. iv

Characteristics of Green Globes

  • Green Globes is structured as a self-assessment to be done in-house using a project manager and design team. The system is questionnaire-based with pop-up tips, which show the applicable technical tables that are needed to reply to the questions. An online manual is also available. Users can see how points are being awarded and how they are scoring.
  • The Green Globes platform includes optional interactive guidance to help implement the integrated design process from goal setting to construction documents.
  • Submittal requirements consist of documents that are normally produced as part of any well executed green construction project that uses the integrated design process. They consist of construction drawings, specifications, energy modelling, life cycle analysis, records of meetings, and any "green" plans that the team has developed — for example, storm-water management, landscaping, and commissioning.

Green Globes New Construction compared to LEED

Green Globes has been used on projects that range greatly in size, complexity and degree of innovation. However, in its early days, when it was not well known, it tended to be used for projects with limited budgets, based on the premise that the system could be done without the need for consultants to manage the certification process, and that it was therefore a more affordable certification system than LEED.

There are many studies that show that Green Globes is similar in terms of criteria with some exceptions (e.g. materials), and is competitive in terms of usability and cost. One of most often quoted studies was conducted by a team of researchers at the University of Minnesota led by Associate Professor Timothy M. Smith, who published an analysis of the two rating systems in a report titled "Green Building Systems: A Comparison of the LEED and Green Globes Systems in the U.S. " ). The study provides a detailed comparison of how the systems operate as well as their respective strengths and weaknesses. There are many other studies by media and academic researchers v. industry and users vi. and governments vii.

The following table highlights some of the similarities and differences of the two methodologies.

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