Green construction remains a hot topic across the globe as owners, contractors, engineers, and architects all look for the best and most efficient tools to make their projects more energy efficient. These tools include construction technology, as well as certification programs. These days, project teams have a few routes to go in each category.

Late in 2012 came the emergence of Green Globes from the Green Building Initiative, www.thegbi.org, Portland, Ore. Positioned as an alternative to USGBC’s LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), www.usgbc.org, Washington, D.C., this Web-based program for green building guidance and certification also presents an onsite assessment by a third party. The program offers modules that support new construction, existing construction, and even go as specialized as offering modules for healthcare construction.

Starting with an environmental assessment protocol, the program also provides a range of software tools with the intent to streamline online assessment. According to the organization, its software tools and certification systems assess environmental impacts on a 1,000-point scale that cover a range of different categories, including energy, water, indoor environment, project management, and more.

Buildings that achieve 35% or more of the 1,000 points in the rating system become eligible for certification of Green Globes. This can be a single certification or multiple, depending on the project. According to Green Building Initiative, it already has multiple project teams working in the program, ranging from university facilities to data centers, and more.

While LEED has been the standard certification for green construction, Green Globes presents an interesting alternative. It is another step in the evolutionary process of establishing and maintaining energy-efficient construction projects.

Just like with software and hardware options, it is good to have choices during the construction process. Looking ahead it will be interesting to see how energy-efficient construction projects evolve, and how the different certification/rating systems ultimately impact the growth of such projects.