How ‘green’ is your construction firm?


Greensource Magazine reports the Boston-based Green Roundtable  has produced a new “green” certification for design and construction firms. The program recognizes firms that have the institutional capacity to deliver consistent, high-quality sustainability services and projects. Recently piloted in the Boston area and now available nationally, it includes 64 required credits and 15 optional credits that provide a roadmap for further improvement.

Tova Greenberg, director of business development at Green Rountable’s Sustainable Performance Institute (GRT), says that the goal of the program is to provide top firms with a mechanism to differentiate themselves while helping other firms assess and address gaps in their sustainability capacity.

The certification process includes an initial assessment, internal and external surveys, and an audit that assesses specific projects and documentation of credit compliance. The entire process can take from three months to one year, giving firms time to fill in gaps. Successful firms are designated “Green Firm Certified.”

Following certification, firms participate in an annual “spot check” for two years, and in the third year the certification process is repeated. Firms that fulfill the criteria but need more time to collect sufficient data will earn “Provisional Certification,” which is reevaluated in six months.

Overall categories include: leadership, strategy, and policy; project delivery; infrastructure and support systems; partnering and collaboration; and outcomes and metrics. Optional credits provide guidance for future improvement; one example is creating company policy to adopt “formal partnering” to foster communication and address sustainability challenges. The first version of the standard is open for public comment on GRT’s website.

Greenberg has observed two main motivating factors for firms thus far: “to tout their accomplishments or increase the level of sustainability in the firm, or both.” While it does not conform to the full suite of ISO or ANSI criteria defining a true third-party certification—falling short mainly because GRT offers both auditing and consulting—it is an important first step to improving, verifying, and rewarding true firm capacity to deliver sustainability services. Read More.


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