Learning how complementary rating systems benefit the community (Nebraska Flatwater) | U.S. Green Building Council
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Published on
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Posted in Community

LEED AP Katherine Osterman shares what she learned at a USGBC Minnesota Learning Lunch.

This past year, Nebraska Flatwater, Minnesota, and North Dakota integrated their communities with the national USGBC organization. As a part of the USGBC Nebraska Flatwater community, I have seen this as an expansion of our tool set and the way we are able to collaborate and communicate ideas. And with this shared community, I find that we have new opportunities to share expertise across the region.

To kick off 2017, I attended our first Learning Lunch, which tapped into this network by live-streaming across all three states the Minnesota-based event "USGBC and GBCI’s New Suite of Certifications: Making Sense of the Alphabet Soup." With changes happening as recently as last December, it can be hard to keep track of what’s new, so we took a closer look at the rating systems, which are turning heads and becoming growing topics of interest for communities.

Becky Alexander (LHB), Kristina Bach (HGA), Sheri Brezinka (Director of Community, Minnesota, Nebraska and North Dakota), and Craig Wilson (Sustology) walked us through the top takeaways from the newest certifications. These included ArcLEED v4SITESWELLPEERParksmartZero Waste, and GRESB.

Each of the systems highlighted in this overview got me thinking about the different sustainable elements of our built environment and how to start improving sustainably. I realized that many of these systems have a common theme: performance. Although on paper they may still be a checklist, these new or updated systems seem to have a greater focus on performance than ever before.

For example, Arc connects multiple rating systems together in a single platform by measuring performance. LEED v4 calls for a performance-based approach focusing on metering and monitoring data. Perhaps what I find most interesting is the approach WELL takes. Grounded in research and peer-review, WELL is a performance-based system for occupant wellness, which includes a WELL Assessor visiting the building or project to take measurements on aspects such as air quality.

If we are going to make a sustainable impact on our communities, we need to have a set of complementary certifications among which to choose. Now that you’ve been introduced to some of the newest ones, what tools and rating systems are you looking forward to using this year? What do you want to see more of this year from your local USGBC community?

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