By Victoria Markovitz
The famous Coke vs. Pepsi debate can compare to the competition between green building standards. Most standards are made of the same basic ingredients, but they are battling it out to become the preferred product.
While the Coke vs. Pepsi race remains close in the United States, there seems to be a clear leader in commercial green building programs. And some obvious characteristics do set the systems apart. But, like Coke and Pepsi, many people are still unsure as to which system is better.
Run by the U.S. Green Building Council, 31 states recognize the LEED green building standard, and 1,212 commercial new construction projects have been certified under that system. Green Globes, run by the Green Building Initiative, is recognized in 18 states, and only 15 buildings have gained certification.
The systems, however, are more similar than they are different.
Both standards cover similar grounds, such as site sustainability, energy efficiency, water efficiency, resource efficiency, and indoor environmental quality. They have four possible levels of certification, require third-party certification, and have a minimum amount of points that builders must attain in each section.
But there are differences. One issue holds particular importance with dealers: forest certification systems. Green Globes awards points for a variety of certification systems, including the American Tree Farm System, the Forest Stewardship Council, the Sustainable Forestry Initiative, and other programs that the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification recognizes. LEED only recognizes FSC-certified wood, but the USGBC is working to include other certifications.
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