Green Building Certification

Several rating and certification systems are used to evaluate how green buildings contribute to sustainability goals. Certification can improve accountability and help owners, designers and builders stay committed to their green goals. Certification is only a tool - buildings do not have to be certified to be considered green, and certification does not always mean that a building is truly sustainable.

Green Building Certification Programs and Tools
The following is a list of some of the more commonly used green building certification programs and tools:

Northwest Energy Star:  NW Energy Star homes are built to meet energy efficient guidelines set forth by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Energy Star:  Commercial buildings can also be designed to the Energy Star standard.

Earth Advantage:  Earth Advantage provides certification for new homes, commercial buildings and communities.

Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design:  The U.S. Green Building Council's (USGBC) rating and certification program.

Living Building Challenge: Cascadia Green Building Council has created this program to raise the bar and define a closer measure of true sustainability in the built environment.

Passive House: A Passive House is a very well-insulated, air-tight building that is primarily heated by passive solar gain and by internal gains from people, electrical equipment, etc.

WaterSense homes: WaterSense labeled new homes are designed to reduce residential water use indoors and out.

Indoor airPLUS Program: EPA created Indoor airPLUS to help builders meet the growing consumer preference for homes with improved indoor air quality.

Energy Performance Score (EPS): This tool can help home buyers make informed decisions when comparing new homes. The EPS provides estimates of of a home's annual energy use, utility costs and carbon footprint.