Buildings have considerable and indirect effects on the environment. From building construction to occupancy, renovation, repurposing, and demolition, buildings use water, energy, and raw materials, generate waste, and emit harmful substances into the atmosphere. These aspects have caused the creation of green building standards, certifications, and rating systems aimed at improving the quality of buildings and infrastructure and reducing the harmful effect they have on the environment through sustainable design. Buildings are evaluated and are required to meet a certain set of criteria in terms of performance and quality to receive the certification. Various certifications across the world analyse the efficiency of buildings. 

BREEAM | Green Building Certifications

BREEAM is the oldest green building rating. BREEAM stands for Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method. BREEAM was created in 1990, and ever since certified buildings in over 50 countries, over 560,000 certified over 2 million projects. The rating system focuses on nine categories management, health and well-being, transport, water, materials, land use and ecology, and pollution. The goal of the rating system is to make buildings more sustainable and improve building performance and efficiency.

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Created by the German Sustainable Building Council, DGNB is a green building certification program that promotes sustainable building practices across Europe. The emphasis of rating system is based on performance and has three levels of certification, platinum, gold, and silver. The aspects that act as the basis of evaluation for this certificate are ecological quality, socio-cultural and function quality, technical quality, and process quality.

LEED | Green Building Certifications

The green building certification in the United States is known as LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. The U.S. Green Building Council manages the building rating system by on-site or third-party verification. Building types such as new construction, existing buildings, homes, and communities can apply for this certification program. It has four certification levels starting from certified, silver, gold, and all the way u to platinum. The certification focuses on transportation, sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, material and resources, indoor environmental quality, innovation, regional priority, and integrative processes. The certification program aims to ensure that the buildings make efficient use of their resources to create a safe environment for all its occupants throughout the building’s life span.

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LEED Credit Categories_


GORD, or Gulf Organization for analysis and Development, aims to encourage property economic development and environmental leadership through property building style. GORD is the 1st performance-based, mostly inexperienced building certification program within the geographic region and geographical area. This certification has two stages: (1) acquire the planning and build certificate following the design section and (2) pursue the correspondence style audit. Since its launch in 2007, over a hundred million sq. feet of building houses have received GORD certification.

BCA Green Mark Scheme | Green Building Certifications

A certification program focusing on Singapore’s sustainable buildings, BCA stands for Building and Construction Authority. The main objective of the certification is to create a community that cares and sustainable buildings that do not harm the environment. The focus elements of the BCA Green Mark Scheme are energy efficiency, water efficiency, environmental protection, indoor environmental quality, and innovation features.

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The International WELL Building Institute (IWBI) manages the WELL building certification program. The main emphasis of the building certification is on the buildings’ design features that impact the occupants’ health and well-being. WELL analyses buildings based on eleven focus areas: air, water, nourishment, light, movement, thermal comfort, sound, materials, mind, community, and innovation. There are a few preconditions and prerequisites that WELL requires to complete a building’s certification. Similar to LEED, WELL can be used for various buildings and spaces.

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Fitwel also prioritises the health and well-being of the occupants of the buildings as well as the surrounding communities. Unlike WELL, Fitwel has no prerequisites for completing this green building certification program. Fitwel can also be used in a variety of building types and spaces and focuses on location, building access, outdoor spaces, entrances, stairs, indoor environment, workspaces, shared spaces, water supply, cafeterias, and ready food areas, vending machines, and snack bars, and emergency procedures.

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Green Globes | Green Building Certifications

Green Globes are used in the US and Canada as a building rating system. Green Globes is organised so that it can be used for in-house building self-assessment by the project manager and design team. It follows a questionnaire aimed at making changes to complete the certification. Green Globes also has four levels of certification. The certification can be used in new construction, existing buildings, and commercial interiors. This certification program focuses on energy usage, water, waste management, emissions, indoor setting, and environmental management.

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Green globes rating_

Green Star

Popular in Australia and South Africa, Green Star is an international sustainability reporting and rating system. The focus categories of the Green Star rating include innovation, which rewards projects that create and utilise new approaches to sustainability. A variety of buildings can be assessed by the Green Star rating system based on categories like indoor environmental air quality, energy, transportation, water, materials, land use and ecology, and emissions.

BEAM PLUS | Green Building Certifications

Recognized by the Hong Kong Business Environment Council, BEAM PLUS is a certification program that focuses on incorporating sustainability into the planning, design, construction, operation, and maintenance of a building. BEAM Plus focuses on the following attributes for its certification assessment: site, material, water, and energy use, indoor environmental quality, and innovation. The BEAM Plus program aims to educate the community about sustainability and sustainable practices and hopes to extend the program outside Hong Kong.


CASBEE stands for Comprehensive Assessment System for Build Energy Environment Efficiency. It was launched in 2015 and applied to existing buildings and new construction throughout Japan. The program aims to use energy and other resources efficiently and focuses on indoor and outdoor environments. CASBEE was designed to scale back the life cycle of resource use and improve the quality of life for building occupants and the close community.

Miljöbyggnad | Green Building Certifications

Miljöbyggnad, translated as Environmental Building in English, is Sweden’s Green Building certification program created in 2010 that includes new construction and existing building pathways. The buildings can earn three certification levels, gold, silver, or bronze, depending on their efficiency. Sweden, contrary to other countries, does not have water usage as a threatened resource; therefore, there is no section regarding water usage in the certification program. It does focus on indoor environmental quality, energy use, and material use. It uses the principles of the LEED and BREEAM certifications to advance its attributes.




3.) Bernardi, Elena, et al. “An analysis of the most adopted rating systems for assessing the environmental impact of buildings.” Sustainability 9.7 (2017): 1226.




















An architect and a poetry fanatic with immense interest in art and architectural theory, Amisha believes that architecture can be the tool for social change. She is all for designing spaces that tell a story and writing stories that describe the poetics of spaces.