GBI Hot on USGBC’s Healthcare Trail

Posted on July 25, 2011

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The Green Building Intiative (GBI) released its Green Globes CIEB for Healthcare. The GBI offering is an online tool that helps facility managers and owners track the environmental performance of their healtcare facility.

For those not familiar with Green Globes, it is a competing sustainability rating and certification initiative similar to USGBC’s LEED systems.  Both began with a sustainability focus on buildings other than healthcare, and now both have ratings and evaluation tools specifically designed for healthcare.

The main difference betweent the two systems is that LEED is mainly design-focused, i.e. the decisions made by the design and construction team prior to and until occupancy.  GG CIEB is performance-focused, i.e. GG CIEB measures actual resource consumption and focuses on benchmarks for water and energy usage.

I do not know enough about the structural differences between the two organizations to comment further. I do know that LEED Rating Systems in general have been criticized on a couple aspects, which have left them vulnerable to a more comprehensive measurement tool.  For instance, LEED is still relatively expensive to register and document.  Also, LEED is more about the upfront decisions, and less about the performance, operations and use; however, to be fair, LEED has implemented post-occupancy facility measurements in its later iterations of its ratings systems to address this shortcoming.

Maybe GG CIEB has or will improve on these and other opportunities. First-mover advantage is usually so strong, and LEED has been around quite a while—heck, it has even been quasi-adopted albeit in an unintended way as “building code” by some jurisdictions and agencies—that it will be interesting to see if Green Globes becomes a formidable competitor.

However, on the healthcare front LEED for Healthcare is fairly new to the scene. On top of that, it is a hybrid of sorts with a lot of the Green Guilde for Health Care built in, which specifically focuses on operations and internal decisions of managing a healthcare facility. Stay tuned, and in the meantime, read up.

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