green building leadership in the commercial sector. One segment of the current leadership is from organi
zations that are committed to walking the talk on the environment and energy, such as the Chesapeake
Bay Foundation, Durst Corporation (see Box 1: Greening Four Times Square), and the federal government.
State and local governments are also demonstrating and requiring green building practices in their new
buildings. Several whole buildings standards have been developed to promote green buildings (see Box 2:
Reducing GHG Emissions through Whole Building Standards). While there is disagreement about some of
the specifics of these rating systems, they have proven to be effective in the absence of aggressive state
or federal green building codes. Real market transformation, however, will require buy in also from the
supply side of the industry due to the complex supply chain structure of the industry.
Reducing GHG Emissions through Whole Building Standards
The term green building is used by a number of
ples: lot design, preparation, and development; resource
programs to promote environmentally friendly construction
efficiency; energy efficiency; water efficiency; indoor
practices. Most of these programs use labeling based on a
environmental quality; operation, maintenance and home
point system to communicate the relative value of these
owner education; and global impact.
Many of these
practices to the market. Further research is merited to
categories are common to the LEED program, but the
understand better the life cycle GHG emissions of various
NAHB rating system requires a minimum number of
building materials and account for them appropriately in
points in each category. This tends to place a greater
all of these building standards.
emphasis on energy and resource efficiency and a lesser
Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED):
importance on the site selection and preparation.
The U.S. Green Building Council has developed LEED to
The Minnesota Sustainable Design Guide: The
help commercial building developers evaluate a variety of
University of Minnesota has developed a design tool that
green building design choices in the early stages of devel
assigns points in the categories of site, water, energy,
Under LEED, building projects are awarded
human factors, materials, and waste for both new and
points in six categories: sustainable sites, water efficiency,
This guide includes an impressive
energy and atmosphere, incorporation of local and
tool, the Minnesota Building Materials Database, for
recycled materials and resources, indoor environmental
comparing the lifecycle impact of material alternatives.
quality, and innovation and design process. It has proved
Green Building Initiative
: This initiative originated
to be an effective voluntary standard, although some con
in the U.K. and Canada and is now available in the U.S.
cerns exist regarding a lack of direct correlation between
Its interactive web protocol is significantly
some of the points awarded and the life cycle GHG reduc
simpler than the LEED certification process. The score
tions (or life cycle costs) from the building.
generated by the web based tool has been partially
Model Green Home Building Guidelines: The National
harmonized with LEED, and is integrated with EPA's
Association of Home Builders Research Center (NAHB RC)
ENERGY STAR Target Finder
and the NAHB RC Model
has developed this system based on eight guiding princi
Green Home Building Guidelines.
Towards a Climate Friendly