Understanding Building Certification

Understanding Building Certification

Building Certification is often confused with green building certification, however, they are not the same. Green building certification systems are a group of tools and rating systems that are utilized to evaluate the performance of a building or an infrastructure project from an environmental and sustainability perspective. 

These systems attempt to improve the building’s efficiency, incorporate a more sustainable life cycle perspective in its design and implementation, and contribute to the fulfilment of building goals. According to The Certifier, this type of certification is the most prominent and reliable system available. However, there are many other building certification schemes from various organizations around the world.

Certification Systems 

Building certification systems can be thought of as an extension or supplement to rating systems. Both building and sustainability criteria are incorporated into these rating systems. These building rating schemes allow building professionals and consumers to compare building products against each other. They can establish how well a building satisfies sustainability needs by determining fuel consumption, energy efficiency, pollution emissions, and other factors.

The assessment of particular building performance is performed through a process of identifying the most cost-effective operation of the building, including its components, processes, and technology. These criteria are then translated to building certification systems for use in different regions. The purpose of this is to allow building owners to make informed decisions when making green building decisions.

Green Building Certification

Green building is also considered an indicator of a successful building management system. Building managers may choose to implement sustainable building practices through different building life cycle management systems, including passive solar design, efficient heating and cooling, conservation of heat and power, use of renewable energy sources, recycling of building materials, and the implementation of net-zero water use. 

Active management practices include the implementation of energy management systems to ensure buildings are capable of meeting energy demands during peak hours, including the replacement of wasteful technology, expansion of renewable energy sources, and implementation of controls over the waste transfer. Building certification programs for green buildings should integrate these practices into building operations for a better understanding of their performance.

Carbon Footprint

An important consideration with green buildings is how buildings are evaluated against their carbon footprint. Some building certification systems incorporate the measurement of greenhouse gas emissions by building components and using this information to determine the building’s Eco-Emissions Index (GERI). This is an evaluation of the total amount of carbon dioxide (CO2), nitrous oxide (NO2), sulphur dioxide (SOCO), and other greenhouse gases emitted by buildings. 

Many building certification systems also use a methodology that compares the effect of building materials on several environmental parameters. These include energy consumption, land use, transport, and climate change impact. These inputs are then combined with the passive techniques used in building construction to determine the amount of energy needed to support the practices of sustainable building.

Environmental Impact

Green building certification also takes an active role in reducing external environmental impacts through alterations to buildings, alteration of building materials and infrastructure, and provision of updated facilities. Many companies offering such certification work closely with architects and landscape consultants to identify and evaluate changes to buildings that reduce energy use. 

These may include installation of new insulation and heat management equipment, installation or modification of windows and doors to provide better regulation of thermal conditions, or the use of lighting and skylights to allow for a more consistent temperature within the building. 

A further improvement could be utilising low voltage lighting and appliances, or replacing some high voltage equipment with lower-voltage appliances. The use of passive heating and cooling techniques requires a certification to show compliance, and the use of recycled building materials can also have an environmental impact.

Requirements and Practices

Green building certification can take many forms but includes a core set of requirements. These include the measurement of energy use and other environmental impacts of the construction, including the total greenhouse gas emissions, as well as the estimated energy savings over the life of the building (assuming no expansion). 

Additionally, the certificate will contain recommended practices, which a business should follow to achieve the lowest direct costs associated with the green buildings, taking into account projected energy use and future emissions. In addition, the certification program will indicate any deficiencies in the building that need to be addressed.

Green building ratings allow building employers to compare new certified buildings against existing buildings to determine whether any gaps need to be closed. This enables employers to implement the most cost-effective strategies for improving building performance while providing healthy air and sustainable resources for their employees and communities. By supporting green building practices through a rating system, employers not only help to protect the health of their staff but also receive financial rewards when they meet their health and safety requirements.

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