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Sustainability Strategies: New Guidelines Make Green Building Certification More Accessible

Integration of Green Buildings criteria is becoming a key topic within corporate sustainability strategies.

Submitted by: Nikos Avlonas

Posted: Apr 11, 2013 – 09:29 AM EST

Tags: green building, sustainability, energy, water, ghg, gri, cdp, leed, serf


By Nikos Avlonas, President and Founder CSE

Businesses across the globe are giving increasing amounts of attention to the environmental impacts that their facilities create. Since costs associated with excessive energy, water, and other natural resource use are often a large chunk of a company’s entire operating budget, more businesses are recognizing that the sustainable use of natural resources is not only beneficial to the environment but improves their own bottom-line as well. 

From immediate utilities savings to long term cost reductions, and from higher property values to greater client and stakeholder satisfaction, Green Building initiatives bring countless benefits to companies in virtually any industry.

Incorporating Green Building Strategies Into Existing Sustainability Programs

Further, many companies are finding ways to incorporate Green Building strategies into their already existing sustainability strategies that are often based on GRI and CDP reporting guidelines.   

With the extra care that businesses are allocating to mitigate the environmental impact of their facilities, they understandably wish to publicize their initiatives. To gain recognition for their Green green buildingsBuilding initiatives and to ensure that the higher property value of green buildings is realized, companies are embracing the use of Green Building standards such as LEED certification like never before

However, adopting and receiving a certification such as LEED is no small feat. The process requires a very large, additional investment of time and resources to a given project, thereby significantly driving up the project’s cost. 

Further, many building projects are not eligible to receive LEED certification through no fault of their own. Take, for instance, an office renovation that is taking place in a building owned by a separate entity that is unwilling to modernize the overall facility to use water and energy efficiently. Since the water and energy footprint of the office is does not meet LEED standards, the office could not apply for LEED certification even if all of the new renovation met LEED requirements.

SERF Certification

In response to issues such as this, many businesses are turning to more flexible certification standards such as Society of Environmentally Responsible Facilities [SERF]. SERF Certification is an ideal option for many Green Building projects because it can be tailored to accommodate Green Building initiatives of different scopes. 

CSE has partnered with SERF to help businesses learn more about how they can use SERF standards with their own Green Building efforts.

With SERF, Integrity No Longer Trumps Applicability

SERF offers an approachable method for certifying all facility types, whether that is a leased office or a SERF certificationwarehouse, a small urban building or a large rural one. Users avoid settling for a single trophy building by applying one rating system along an entire building portfolio at a much lower cost.

The process itself saves time and money by moving away from reliance on third-party consultants and commissioning agents for documentation (although all SERF documentation is verified by a licensed SERF professional like the CSE team) and a dynamic scoring system offers criteria that are considerate of building environment and limitations. 

SERF Certification also opens the door for companies to join the Green Building movement in a way that is compatible with their needs and capabilities. Because of certification standards like SERF, Green Building certification is more accessible than ever before today.

The next step: for the integration of Green Buildings criteria to become a key topic within corporate sustainability strategies.

The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by CSRwire contributors do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of CSRwire.

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