Green Building Certification Spins Off

The success of the US Green Building Council’s (USGBC) LEED certification system is spawning a revolution in green building. Green building currently stands at a $2 billion market expected to double in the next few years. There’s an avalanche of new green buildings websites and organizations, and the entry of competing certification schemes.

What’s needed now is the training and accreditation of legions of building professionals interested in learning how to apply green building techniques. The USGBC has created a new organization to take charge of developing and implementing credentialing programs – the Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI). You can learn about LEED Professional Accreditation, register for a LEED AP Exam, find LEED Accredited Professionals in your area and list your business in the LEED AP Directory at the GBCI website.

The USGBC has also been working with the American Society of Interior Designers Foundation to create the first nationwide green renovation certification for existing homes. Its “Regreen” program will offer guidance on everything from simply painting a room to gutting a house down to its framing and rebuilding it from scratch. There will also be guidelines that focus on specific areas of the house, like the kitchen or bathroom, as part of a whole-house approach to remodeling. The Green Home Guide website will provide information to homeowners and will include the new guidelines when they’re ready.

You can comment on the guidelines through December 10 by going to the Regreen website and selecting clicking on “Public Comment.”


In other news, BuildingGreen, Inc. has named its top ten green building products for 2007. The products were chosen based on such criteria as the use of sustainable or recycled materials and impact on energy efficiency. Most of this year’s products have multiple environmental attributes. Over 200 new products were added to the group’s GreenSpec directory in 2007 – which now includes profiles of over 2000 green building products. It’s become a real challenge to keep up. The LEED rating system has been a real driver for the development of new green products – designers of LEED buildings are looking for green products, and manufacturers are responding.

The 2007 Top-10 Green Building Products are:

* Collins Pine FreeForm – The Collins Companies: FSC-certified particleboard produced without urea-formaldehyde

* Alpen Fiberglass Windows – Alpen Energy Group: very high performing windows

* 180 Walls – Milliken & Company: commercial wallcoverings made from 100% pre-consumer recycled polyester with a self-adhesive backing.

* Bosch Evolution 800 Series SHE98M Dishwasher: 73% more energy efficient than Energy Star; 150% more than federal requirements.

* Greenplay Children’s Furniture – Skyline Design: children’s furniture made from post-consumer recycled plastic, sunflower hulls, and FSC-certified wood. Very low or zero toxicity paints and finishes.

* Cube3 Ultra Urinal – Caroma: ultra water conservation urinal

* LifeGuard Low Smoke Zero Halogen Cable – Houston Wire & Cable Company: low toxicity sheathing for cables used by utilities and industry. Virtually all electrical cable today is insulated with PVC or other halogenated plastics, such as Teflon.

* Wireless Controls – EnOcean: lighting and building-automation equipment can be powered from the energy created from operating a light switch or photovoltaic energy from lighting in a room. Using radio frequencies means that controllers can be operated without batteries and wiring!

* SunEye – Solmetric Corporation: solar installers can use this hand device to measure the shade produced by nearby trees and homes to calculate solar exposure.

* LED Downlight – LED Lighting Fixtures, Inc.: uses just under 11 watts to provide 650 lumens of light, with better color rendering that compact fluorescents.

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Green Building Certification Institute

Regreen

Green Home Guide

Details on Top 10 Products

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