What is a sustainable building certification? And what are the different options?
Green building certification systems are a set of rating systems and tools that are used to assess a building or a construction project's performance from a sustainability and environmental perspective.
The most widely used sustainable building certifications are LEED, Arc, WELL, Fitwel, and BREEAM.
What is LEED and How Does it Work?
LEED provides a framework for healthy, efficient, carbon and cost-saving green buildings. LEED certification is a globally recognized symbol of sustainability achievement, and it is backed by an entire industry of committed organizations and individuals paving the way for market transformation.
LEED-certified buildings save money, improve efficiency, lower carbon emissions, and create healthier places for people. They are a critical part of addressing climate change and meeting ESG goals, enhancing resilience, and supporting more equitable communities.
To achieve LEED certification, a project earns points by adhering to prerequisites and credits that address carbon, energy, water, waste, transportation, materials, health, and indoor environmental quality. Projects go through a verification and review process by GBCI and are awarded points that correspond to a level of LEED certification: Certified (40-49 points), Silver (50-59 points), Gold (60-79 points) and Platinum (80+ points).
LEED System Goals
LEED is a holistic system that doesn’t simply focus on one element of a building such as energy, water, or health, rather it looks at the big picture factoring in all of the critical elements that work together to create the best building possible. The goal of LEED is to create better buildings that:
- Reduce contribution to global climate change
- Enhance individual human health
- Protect and restore water resources
- Protect and enhance biodiversity and ecosystem services
- Promote sustainable and regenerative material cycles
- Enhance community quality of life
Of all LEED credits, 35% of the credits in LEED are related to climate change, 20% of the credits directly impact human health, 15% of the credits impact water resources, 10% of the credits affect biodiversity, 10% of the credits relate to the green economy, 5% of the credits impact community and 5% of the credits impact natural resources. In LEED v4.1, a majority of the LEED credits are related to operational and embodied carbon. Learn more.
How WYND Monitors and Purifiers can help achieve LEED credits:
What is Arc and How Does it Work?
Arc makes every building better.
Arc helps any space or building manage performance across five areas: energy, water, waste, transportation, and human experience.
Arc Skoru Inc is a technology company that is affiliated with Green Business Certification, Inc and the U.S. Green Building Council. Arc Skoru Inc. believes that performance is the future of green building and created the "Arc" performance platform to help create better buildings and places for people and the environment. Arc empowers its users to understand and enhance their sustainability performance, promote human health and well-being, and contribute to a higher quality of life.
Arc believes that information about real-world performance empowers people to design, build and operate places that benefit both people and the environment.
Arc helps users achieve green building certification, improve individual building sustainability, manage complex portfolios, and transform cities and communities. Arc powers next-generation, performance-based rating systems, including LEED v4.1 O+M and LEED for Cities and Communities, and, is expanding to support many more performance-based solutions.
Arc provides robust and scalable tools to manage, measure, analyze, score, and communicate real-world performance data. Arc is a new part of the building information ecosystem and analyzes data from many sources — including energy, emissions, water, waste, transportation, and human experience — to provide scores and insights.
Arc provides opportunities for everyone to engage. New users can start with a single issue — greenhouse gas emissions, energy, waste, waste, human experience, or transportation — and work toward higher levels of sustainability over time. Experienced users can streamline their green building activities and manage large numbers of spaces, buildings, places, and even entire portfolios. For example, GRESB participants can directly upload asset data to identify potential certifications and improve their GRESB scores.
How WYND Monitors and Purifiers can help achieve Arc credits:
What is WELL and How Does it Work?
The WELL Building Standard® is a performance-based system for measuring, certifying, and monitoring features of the built environment that impact human health and wellbeing, through air, water, nourishment, light, fitness, comfort, and mind.
WELL is managed and administered by the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI), a public benefit corporation whose mission is to improve human health and wellbeing through the built environment.
WELL is grounded in a body of medical research that explores the connection between the buildings where we spend more than 90 percent of our time, and the health and wellness of its occupants. WELL Certified™ spaces and WELL Compliant™ core and shell developments can help create a built environment that improves nutrition, fitness, mood, and sleep patterns.
The WELL Building Standard® is third-party certified by the Green Business Certification Incorporation (GBCI), which administers the LEED certification program and the LEED professional credentialing program.
How WYND Monitors and Purifiers can help achieve WELL credits:
What is Fitwel and How Does it Work?
Fitwel is a green building certification system that focuses on improving, enhancing, and safeguarding the health and well-being of tenants and residents in office buildings, multifamily residential buildings, and retail spaces. Created by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the General Services Administration (GSA), the Fitwel certification system has “a vision for a healthier future where every building is enhanced to support the wellbeing of its occupants and support healthier communities.” Fitwel takes a holistic approach when addressing tenant and building health.
How WYND Monitors and Purifiers can help achieve Fitwel credits:
What is BREEAM and How Does it Work?
BREEAM stands for Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Methodology. It is the oldest method of assessing, rating, and certifying a building’s environmental sustainability.
How WYND Monitors and Purifiers may help achieve BREEAM credits:
Sustainability certifications for buildings and spaces have evolved drastically in the past decade. With a heightened increase of focus on healthy buildings and regulatory requirements, these certifications are becoming more heavily adopted. With advancements in technology, tracking and reporting of indoor environmental quality have become even more important and easier to facilitate. We at WYND look forward to assisting you to navigate your path to sustainability certifications and ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) reporting.
For more sustainability content from WYND, check out the podcast ESG 123: Sustainability Conversations with WYND, free on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.