The Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC), the National organization responsible for the Canadian Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) green building rating system is hiring a Consultant qualified to review certification programs from other industries. The results of the study are to provide guidance for development of a new LEED Canada rating system. The CaGBC issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) for this purpose on April 16th that was posted to the CaGBC website until the RFP deadline of April 30th.
The CaGBC has identified a list of 13 certifiying organizations in the RFP for inclusion in the study including the International Organization for the Standardization (ISO), The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), Fairtrade Labelling Organizations International (FLO) as well as the BOMA Go Green Plus program and the USGBC Green Building Certification Institute.
Although Green Building Rating Systems from other countries such as BREEAM developed in the UK and Australia's Green Star are not mentioned in the RFP they too will be included in the study. According to Nancy Grenier, Communications Director with the CaGBC the study is “surveying the landscape for compatible and complimentary programs”.
According to the RFP the criteria a certifying organization inclusion in the study is that it be one of similar size and scale to LEED that captures a complexity of issues including comparable cost and time, ongoing certification, a mix of pre-requisites and credits, a flexible approach (including prescriptive and performance paths), a methodology for group or portfolio certification and engagement of a broad stakeholder group.
The study of comparable certification systems is a part of the LEED Canada Initiative , the CaGBC’s ambitious plan to redesign the Canadian LEED Rating System. The CaGBC Board has set a goal of certifying 100,000 buildings and 1,000,0000 homes by 2015. Achieving this goal requires the adoption of a different certification system than the one currently employed by CaGBC. It is anticipated that the CaGBC will develop an appropriate certification system in 2008, and will launch it in 2009.
Grenier said that the CaGBC is “hearing that some building owners are not going through with a LEED certification because of additional cost. How do we (The CaGBC) balance the cost of LEED with making it more accessible so that LEED can increase its market share while maintaining the value of the brand.“
The goal of the new certification system is that it be scalable, transparent and accessible. According to Grenier, “it is intended to be complimentary and not to be competitive with other Green Building rating systems. If a building has BOMA Go Green Plus Certification then under the new system it may count for points toward LEED or there may be another way to recognize that achievement within the LEED framework.”
The CaGBC website describes a vital component of the new LEED Rating System as an on-line database of actual building performance that will be used to rate and monitor LEED registered and certified property. It will also serve as a forum for participants in LEED to compare buildings and learn from their peers.
Organizational aspects of the new rating system such as the role of the building owner and the CaGBC, a requirement for third party verification and an appropriate delivery system are elements of the new system are still being worked out. According to Grenier, the study of comparable rating system will help guide the CaGBC in this aspect of the LEED Canada initiative.
While the new LEED rating system is under development, the existing LEED rating system continues to grow rapidly. According to the CaGBC website, it has an estimated market penetration of 6.6 million m2. More than 3,000 Canadian practitioners from all sectors of the industry are now LEED accredited professionals. The CaGBC has 1,700 plus members and eight chapters across Canada.
By the CaGBC National Summit, Shifting into the Mainstream that is to be held June 11-12, 2008 in Toronto, the consultant chosen to conduct the comparative study will have identified the three most relevant certifications systems for interviews and further study.
For more information about the CaGBC National Summit and to register visit the Shifting into the Mainstream and the Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC) website.