Building sustainability has been in the industry for quite some time now, long enough that a couple of different rating systems to exist that attempt to score project sustainability performances. Existing green-building certification systems try to communicate to the average person the impact a project has on its surrounding environment; the quality of its indoor environment; and its energy-consumption performance.
While comprehensive and detailed, these rating systems have also come at significant cost, making them out of reach of a great number of projects. With Earth Advantage Commercial (from the Earth Advantage Institute) and its prescriptive approach to whole-building sustainability and highly efficiency performance, a much more accessible and cost-effective rating system is now available to a broader range of projects.
To preserve the program integrity and ensure compliance with the rating system, the Earth Advantage Institute requires projects to have certified Project Trustees on the project and be affiliated with Preferred Partner firms. Training in sustainable building practices, energy efficient design and implementing the Earth Advantage Commercial program is required before a professional can be tested and certified as a Project Trustee. This strengthens the core rating system and helps each building project meet the sustainability goals of the Earth Advantage Commercial certification levels.
By creating a streamlined recipe of required items for each certification level, Earth Advantage Commercial has been able to drastically reduce the cost of third-party building certification. This opens up opportunity for more projects to embrace, document and share their commitment to sustainability and energy efficiency.
In late August, our architecture firm had the opportunity to take part in the Earth Advantage training and professional certification program. Design Professional Travis Smith attended the two-day training and upon passing the certification tests, were awarded the designation Project Trustee.
Our firm also became a Preferred Partner firm with the Earth Advantage Institute. Since many of our project already incorporate sustainable building practices, we are eager to offer this building certification opportunity at a significant cost savings to our clients and projects.