The U.S. Green Building Council has had great success in promoting the Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) system as a third-party verification system to recognize sustainable features of a building. LEED, however, is not the only rating system in use. LEED in fact has had numerous critics in the past, and as detailed in this article, there is opposition to LEED who feel the system is bureaucratic and cumbersome. Although the LEED system is voluntary and market-based, a lot of states, cities, and the federal government either require LEED or encourage it’s use.
The main rival to the LEED system appears to be Green Globes, operated in the U.S. by the Green Building Initiative (GBI). Recently the U.S. General Services Administration submitted its recommendation to the Secretary of Energy that federal agencies use one of two green building certification systems that best suit agency missions and portfolio needs: USGBC’s LEED system and GBI’s Green Globes system. Design professionals should be aware of the debate between the different rating systems and advise their clients on the rating system that best fits their needs.