The Green Building Initiative (GBI) announced the launch of a new certification program specific to design of interiors of commercial and institutional buildings, according to GBI president Jerry Yudelson.
The new program, Green Globes for Sustainable Interiors, focuses exclusively on the sustainable design and construction of interior spaces in non-residential buildings and can be pursued by both building owners and individual lessees of commercial spaces. When pursuing Green Globes for Sustainable Interiors certification, tenants can focus on both designing new and/or improving their existing interior space to Green Globes standards without the need to certify an entire building.
“One of the aspects that makes Green Globes for Sustainable Interiors so versatile—and practical—is that it enables tenants to certify the specific environmental and sustainability attributes of the space they lease,” Yudelson said. “Other certifications include aspects of the entire building and surroundings, and as a result, tenant improvements can be penalized for conditions they do not control.”
As with all Green Globes rating programs, Green Globes for Sustainable Interiors utilizes a third-party assessor who reviews actual building characteristics and documentation. However, Green Globes for Sustainable Interiors has no prerequisites, which—if required—could unfairly penalize building projects and possibly result in their inability to use a green building rating system. The Green Globes for Sustainable Interiors program requires that interior designers and tenant project teams address only those sustainability criteria within their “domain of influence.”
The Green Globes 1,000-point scale utilizes weighted criteria; the assigned number of points for individual criteria reflects their relative impact and/or benefit to sustainability of the tenant improvements. Green Globes for Sustainable Interiors includes six environmental assessment areas: Project Management, Energy, Water, Materials & Resources, Emissions and Other Impacts, and Indoor Environment.
In addition to assessing all elements of an interiors project, Green Globes for Sustainable Interiors emphasizes the key performance indicators (KPIs) of energy, materials, and indoor environment. Green Globes for Sustainable Interiors does not deal with site characteristics, instead focusing all criteria on parameters within the scope of a typical tenant improvement, resulting in lower costs for certification.
Similar to the Green Globes for New Construction program, Green Globes for Sustainable Interiors includes a dual-pathway approach to materials choices for interior fit-outs, utilizing either lifecycle assessment (LCA) or Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs). Interior designers are rewarded for using multipurpose furniture, modular furniture and casework solutions, and other interior fit-out elements that can be easily reconfigured. Additional points are awarded for reuse of existing interior fit-outs, including finishes, furnishings, and other non-structural elements. The Green Globes for Sustainable Interiors rating system also includes direct reference to other industry standards such as the new “level” sustainability standard of the Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturers Association (BIFMA).
“The Green Globes for Sustainable Interiors program will be especially attractive to tenants who want to improve their workspace sustainability in situations where a landlord does not plan to address changes in other tenant or common spaces,” Yudelson said.