GBI Applauds New USGBC Recognition of Multiple Forest Certification Standards

April 19, 2016

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) has debuted an opportunity for users of the LEED rating system to earn credit for the use of wood products certified under multiple recognized forest certification standards, a move viewed positively by the Green Building Initiative (GBI).

“Recognizing all major forest certification standards promotes responsible forestry,” stated GBI board member Dr. Charles Kibert, professor at University of Florida and director of its Powell Center for Construction and the Environment. “This decision is consistent with the results of multiple ANSI-approved consensus standards. Opening the door to multiple forest certification standards is a positive move by the USGBC.”

Kibert is a noted expert on sustainable construction who has lent time and expertise to both USGBC and GBI during the last decade. He currently chairs GBI’s materials subcommittee that is reviewing public comments and proposed revisions to GBI’s ANSI Standard. ANSI-GBI 01-2010 is under revision and will become the basis of the next version of Green Globes for New Construction & Major Renovations to be piloted in 2016. GBI’s ANSI Standard and the Green Globes rating system reward users through a 1,000-point-based rating system for incorporating green building best practices into buildings.

In addition to ANSI-GBI 01-2010: An Assessment Protocol for Green Commercial Buildings, examples of standards that already reference multiple forest certification standards are ANSI-ICC 700: National Green Building Standard and ICC’s International Green Construction Code.

Vicki Worden, Executive Director of GBI, acknowledges that some building stakeholders attribute positive changes in the USGBC’s rating system to GBI’s introduction of Green Globes into the U.S. market. 

“GBI has been a leader on many issues, including recognizing multiple forest certification standards since 2004 and being the first to introduce life cycle assessment into a commercial building rating system,” stated Worden. “Having multiple approaches to assessing and certifying buildings fosters competition, and that means that rating system developers can learn from each other and grow along with the evolving built environment.” She concluded GBI’s statement on USGBC’s recent changes to the LEED rating system noting, “In this case we were a leader. Sometimes we’ll be a follower. And that’s the beauty of fostering an open and competitive marketplace – everyone benefits, particularly building owners.”