GBI Establishes National Standard for Commercial Green Building

PORTLAND, OR – The Green Building Initiative (GBI) recently announced the completion of the first, and only, American National Standard for commercial green building, as approved by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).    

The standard—officially named ANSI/GBI 01-2010: Green Building Assessment Protocol for Commercial Buildings—was derived from the Green Globes environmental design and assessment rating system for New Construction and was formally approved on March 24, 2010. The standard was developed following ANSI’s highly regarded consensus-based guidelines, which are among the world’s most respected for the development of consensus standards and ensure a balanced, transparent and inclusive process.

“The guidelines set forth by ANSI ensure that this new standard was developed in a way that gives all stakeholders, including sustainability experts, architects and engineers, ENGOs, and industry groups a seat at the table,” says Ward Hubbell, president of the GBI. “This is a significant advancement in green building and the standard will be set apart from any green building rating system of its kind.”

The result is the most scientifically advanced and robust green building rating system for the new construction or major renovation of commercial buildings in the United States. The new standard takes a holistic approach to green building with seven areas of assessment: Project Management, Site, Water, Energy, Emissions, Indoor Environment, and Resources. The energy section includes minimum achievement levels and introduces carbon equivalency measures that are used in combination with energy performance goals. 

Other areas of innovation are the addition of a water consumption calculator, a materials/resources section that fully incorporates Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), and an emphasis on building integrity issues. The standard also contains minimum point requirements in each of the seven areas of assessment, ensuring the building has a minimum level of sustainability while still giving the project teams the flexibility to choose what works best for each unique building. 

“The approval from ANSI is the result of a long and thoughtful process, where many different people were able to find common ground toward our shared goal of increasing sustainable building practices,” says Wayne Trusty, president of the Athena Institute and chairman of the ANSI Technical Committee. “The technical advancements of this standard really show how beneficial the ANSI consensus-process can be for a green building rating tool.”

In 2005, the GBI gained official designation as a Standards Developing Organization and shortly thereafter began the process of working through ANSI to establish the standard.  The GBI served as secretariat to the ANSI Technical Committee, which per ANSI guidelines, acted autonomously throughout the standard development process. The technical committee is comprised of 30 full-time members and almost 100 sub-committee members, representing organizations such as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), American Institute of Architects (AIA), American Lung Institute, ASHRAE and various academicians.  

“We are extremely thankful to all of the volunteers on the technical committee who participated in the development of the new standard,” adds Hubbell. “Their dedication and commitment to green building helped establish what we believe will become the benchmark for rating sustainable commercial buildings in the U.S.”

To gain experience with the new standard in a real-world setting, the GBI will now take the standard through a limited pilot program, utilizing the new protocol to assess and certify a limited number of commercial buildings. Applications for the pilot program will be accepted starting May 1, with project evaluation criteria for pilot program approval spanning building size, principal use, and sustainability considerations.

The GBI owns the U.S. license to the Green Globes environmental assessment protocol, a user-friendly and cost-effective way to rate a commercial green building. There are currently more than 100 buildings certified under Green Globes in the United States, which uses an online and interactive platform and provides users with feedback throughout the green building design and assessment process. The current version of Green Globes for New Construction will continue to be available for use throughout the GBI ANSI standard pilot process.

For more information about the GBI, Green Globes, ANSI standard pilot, or to view a full list of the ANSI Technical Committee, visit

About the Green Building Initiative
The mission of the Green Building Initiative is to accelerate the adoption of building practices that result in energy-efficient, healthier and environmentally sustainable buildings by promoting credible and practical green building approaches. A not-for-profit education initiative, the GBI is supported by a broad cross section of organizations and individuals with an interest in residential and commercial construction. For more information on the Green Building Initiative, visit