The Green Building Initiative (GBI), the creator of the Green Globes building certification program, seems to be gearing up to compete with LEED in a much more significant way. Green Globes scored a big win in October when the GSA announced that it was now recommending the use of either LEED or Green Globes by government agencies. In the past, GSA recommended use of LEED only. Now, GBI has announced that Jerry Yudelson, a long time green building supporter and LEED Fellow, has been hired as the new GBI president. According to an article by Paula Melton on LEEDuser, Yudelson has some ambitious goals for demonstrating that Green Globes is an attractive, cost-effective, easy to use alternative to LEED. The article also states that Green Globes certified projects currently make up only 2-4% of all projects with green certifications, but Yudelson hopes to increase that to 10% in the coming year.
I have been fairly skeptical of Green Globes in the past. It has been no secret that GBI’s past leadership has been very heavy on representation from the timber and plastics industries, two groups that have very publicly expressed opposition to aspects of the LEED Rating System. That leads to a fear that the wishes of these lobbies could cause Green Globes could be “soft” on real environmental and human health concerns of timber and plastic products. Apparently, the strong ties to these group have now been severed, or at least loosened, with Yudelson’s addition. I still ahve concerns that Green Globes is a watered down version of LEED, but I am hopeful that with these changes that isn’t the case. I am definitely in favor of LEED having some friendly competition. A monopoly can often be the enemy of progress on USGBC and LEED have come pretty close to holding a monopoly on green certifications for quite a while. Here’s to hoping a little competition makes both systems better.