Category Archives: LEED Alternatives

LEED Requirements vs the Class-G Checklist for Sustainable Certification

LEED and Class-GYou shouldn’t have to rebuild, reorganize and reinvest to demonstrate your commitment to sustainable certification – and now you don’t have to.

Consumers are increasingly interested in environmentally responsible companies and reward them with their pocketbooks.

Unfortunately, achieving a meaningful “green certification” has traditionally been difficult for business owners. But that’s changing.

Most people are familiar with  Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification, a program sponsored by the United States Green Building Council. It’s not easy to achieve- especially for well-established businesses that have multiple locations.

And achieving LEED certification is expensive.

Thankfully, there is another certification that can be even more useful, and a lot less expensive: Class-G.

Class-G has gained a strong following because it rewards companies and organizations for doing the right thing for the environment – particularly organizations with multiple locations.

Which certification program is right for your business? Keep reading to compare these two useful programs.

What each measures

LEED has five different rating systems. They include building design and construction, interior design and construction, building operations and maintenance, neighborhood development and homes.

Certification is earned by demonstrating that a building (or neighborhood area) has been designed and constructed in a way that conserves energy reduces water consumption, strives to maintain exceptional indoor air quality and uses environmentally friendly building materials.

Class-G measures are entirely different – over 130 best practices. Companies and organizations can achieve Class-G status by identifying the things they are currently doing to act as good stewards of natural resources, including reducing the use of paper, using high-efficiency electronics and equipment, employing environmentally friendly cleaning products, installing compact-fluorescent or LED lights and recycling.

The process of each

Becoming LEED certified requires an extensive process involving submission of an exhaustive application that includes building plans, energy use statistics or estimates, environmental impact assessments, letters of support and an external evaluation. Earning between 40 and 49 points will get you certified, but you can achieve silver, gold and platinum status by earning more points.

Earning the Class-G designation is a self-reporting process during which you will certify your current efforts to act in a sustainable manner by completing a checklist. You also submit a “wish list” of things actions you’d like to implement to protect the environment. Once your application is submitted, you receive a score as well as a checklist of steps you can take to continue working toward your goals.

The cost of each

Becoming LEED certified is not only a complicated process, it’s expensive. There is a flat registration fee ranging from $1,200 for the basic certification to $3,250 for silver, gold and platinum certification—and that’s just for the precertification review. There are additional costs, depending on the size of the building, that can reach up to $27,500 for buildings with more than 500,000 square feet. Moreover, the things you need to change in an existing structure to achieve the certification can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

If, for some reason, you do not achieve LEED certification, you can appeal – for a fee.

Applying for Class-G certification involves a one-time certification fee that’s less than what LEED charges for the right to apply.

The benefits of each
You can’t go wrong with either certification. Both recognize companies for doing the right things for the environment. Both are recognized by consumers who prefer to spend their money at environmentally responsible companies. And both are worthwhile. Class-G certification, however, doesn’t require you to make extensive upgrades to existing structures.

Green Building Certification Made Easy

class-g sustainability plaqueMany organizations and businesses today are becoming more environmentally aware than ever before. Clients and potential investors, too, are beginning to favor organizations that facilitate green building initiatives and sustainability measures. Earning a certification for fostering an eco-friendly environment is important for many organizations. With the help of Class-G, you can easily gauge the sustainability efforts of all your locations and earn certifications to demonstrate it online.

Maximize and Promote Sustainability

Thanks to the various tools and resources provided by Class-G, it’s much easier to develop a comprehensive approach to sustainability for virtually any organization, especially those with multiple locations as these are even more difficult to manage. With Class-G, companies can acquire valuable insights about how to boost your environmental efforts and receive recognition for your organization’s pre-existing facility eco-friendly endeavors. Your organization’s positive endeavors will be also published online by Class-G, alongside hundreds of other prominent, green-certified locations.

Fair, Simple and Affordable Certification

In as little as 60 minutes you can get a measured evaluation of the sustainability of each of your locations and be certified immediately. After completing a 100+ question checklist regarding your organization’s environmentally-friendly initiatives, a sustainability score will be calculated. Once completed, a plaque will be sent to you to proudly display at each location. While LEED certification demands overwhelming prerequisites to qualify, and an onerous amount of time and talent to accomplish, earning an objective certification through Class-G is a straightforward, efficient process.

No Costly Renovations Needed

Earning a LEED certification often requires thousands of dollars in renovations to any one location. Other times, LEED requires that a building be constructed to very particular standards before even being considered to qualify. For many organizations, this can be difficult if not impossible to accomplish, especially if the facilities are in existing buildings. With Class-G, your organization is evaluated by factors such as energy, water and waste reduction, air quality, materials used and more. The use of green building materials for roofing, insulation or infrastructure will also help you earn a higher rating. Simply using CFL light bulbs or recycling everyday office materials should be lauded and rewarded.

The best part is that you don’t need to spend an enormous amount of money to do a comprehensive sustainability evaluation. With Class-G, everything can be done online. Class-G aims to ensure every organization receives the recognition they deserve for improving the environment. Any effort, big or small, is worth applauding.

Showcase your commitment to a better environmental future by earning a sustainability certification through Class-G. You will attract new clients, employees and investors to your organization by simply helping to make the world a cleaner, healthier place. Moreover, you will identify dozens and dozens of sustainability initiatives that you can accomplish in any of your locations that will save you money. Besides saving the planet… saving money is what sustainability is all about.

Ohio Senate Wants to Ban LEED Certification

LEED CertifiedRecently, the Ohio Senate passed a resolution against use of the LEED certifications. While not binding legislation, this resolution could have a big impact on how government and school buildings are constructed (source).

LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is an organization formed by a private group called the U.S. Green Building Council. They determine a set of environmental standards for building construction, and control a certification process.  Becoming “LEED Certified” has been the gold standard for environmental building certifications. While often criticized for being cost-prohibitive for most organizations, LEED has been a leader in green building certification.

Political pressure seems to have been spearheaded by some chemical trade groups, including the American Chemistry Council, who object to the latest LEED standard, LEED v4. Among other things, this requires organizations to disclose building materials.  Testimony for the bill included a suggestion that LEED v4 contains a list of “blacklisted” chemicals. LEED claims that no such blacklist exists.

Joe Blattner, CEO of Class-G, a company that provides a platform for virtually any company that manages in an environmentally-friendly fashion to certify as a sustainably-managed organization, says he was dumbfounded by the resolution. “LEED-certified buildings score high points for sustainability with us,” he said. “The notion of a politically-motivated ban on LEED just seems inconsistent with the public’s clear demand for greater environmental initiatives, and frankly, inconsistent with democracy.”

Excerpts of the resolution follow. The entire resolution can be found here.

RESOLVED, That we, the members of the 130th General Assembly of the State of Ohio, urge Ohio state agencies and other government entities to use green building rating systems, codes, or standards that are consistent with state energy efficiency and environmental performance objectives and policies; and be it further

RESOLVED, That the only systems, codes, and standards used in state agency and other government buildings be those that have been developed in an open and transparent way with the input of Ohio building materials and products manufacturers and harvesters to ensure that the use of green building rating systems, codes, and other standards from the private sector are consistent with Ohio objectives and policies; and be it further

RESOLVED, That the State of Ohio use private sector green building rating systems, codes, and other standards to implement state energy efficiency and environmental performance objectives provided that they are voluntary consensus standards that are properly grounded in science and include the use of environmental and health criteria that are based on risk assessment methodology generally accepted by applicable scientific disciplines; and be it further

RESOLVED, That the use of green building rating systems, codes, and other standards that have been developed pursuant to ANSI procedures be presumptively deemed to be open, transparent, and voluntary consensus standards suitable for Ohio government use; and be it further

RESOLVED, That the LEED v4 green building rating system no longer be used by Ohio’s state agencies and government entities until the USGBC conforms its system development to the ANSI voluntary consensus standard procedures as confirmed by ANSI or until the state, after an opportunity for public comment and participation, incorporates the LEED v4 system by reference, in whole or in part, into the administrative rules for state agency or government entity building standards; and be it further

RESOLVED, That the OFCC continue to incorporate energy efficiency and sustainable design features into approved school projects through the use of alternative green building rating systems, codes, and standards other than LEED v4….