More from the Opening the Door to Green Building Study which will be presented GreenExpo365.com on October 7 at 10:00 am PDT. For more information on the presentation
As any growth market evolves, so to do movements around codifying and standardizing aspects of the market’s services, products and solutions. The green building industry is experiencing a rapid evolution of product standards/certifications, professional accreditations and project certifications and in the building product sector, there seems to be an entire tangential industry creating product certifications (Green Seal, Energy Star, Green Guard, Green Label, etc.) While the LEED system and Energy Star seem to be the most prominent among professional accreditations and project certifications, countless certification programs are emerging by market type, profession service discipline and geographic region green building certification programs.
How understandable are these rating systems? Only 21% of respondents indicate, “the current landscape of green rating systems, standards and certifications is “understandable”. Expounding on the confusion is that two of the leading providers of services within the industry indicate their understanding to be equal to less than the 21% “understandable” score with Architects at 18% and General Contractor/Trades at 21%. While 44% of Facility Managers and 57% of Real Estate Developers/Tenant Leasing/Finance rated the current landscape from “highly confusing” to “rarely understandable”.
While a few of the respondents’ comments described the standards as understandable, many highlighted how the confusion in the market place is slowing green building adoption:
“"Point" systems tend to evolve over time - and with the sub-specialization of the LEED rating system - I believe it's causing more confusion in the marketplace - it would be nice if there was a method of establishing a system that rewarded sustainable solutions without making it a 'point grab’.”
“Current rating systems would be better understood by using platform levels of standards. Smaller levels to obtain for certification will be easier then just one main level at the end of a project.”
“Everyone is trying to "get into the game", and further exasperating the movement is (unnecessary) involvement by state and local governments.”
“Have a hard time just explaining how you rate a home. You start with the goal and then work backwards. If they want to save utility dollars then this is a solid metric. But the increased assessed value of a green home may not be very objective. “
“It is easy to understand, however, there are numerous green rating systems that encompass landscaping, cities, roads, infrastructure, buildings, etc. You cannot know them all!”
“The good news is that the ICC is writing code to accommodate sustainable design. While its truly unfortunate they also use the term ‘green’ I do think that this step is crucial in setting a real sustainable standard that is reasonable, less politically motivated, and one that can be followed with confidence that a rating will be achieved at the end of the process.”
Most market types were clustered around the overall averages, although the Single Family market participants indicated 42% “highly confusing” to “rarely understandable”, 14% higher than the other markets. Furthermore there was no indication by anyone in the Single Family market type that the current landscape was “easily understandable”. Certainly at the homeowner level, Energy Star is becoming more and more recognizable but the other single-family home rating systems clearly have not achieved the same level of understanding as the other market types.
To read the entire report