Using NeoCon, the largest interior design show of the year for the U.S. market that is currently taking place at Chicago's Merchandise Mart, as a backdrop, the Green Building Initiative (GBI) announced the launch of Green Globes for Sustainable Interiors (Green Globes SI), targeting interior fit-outs and remodels in commercial and institutional buildings. The system can be pursued by building owners and commercial space lessees on individual spaces without necessitating the entire building be certified for Green Globes.

The system uses Green Globes' typical 1,000-point scale with weighted criteria. Projects are assessed in six areasemissions and other impacts, energy, indoor environment, materials and resources, project management, and waterand must achieve a minimum number of weighted points in the energy efficiency, indoor environmental, and material choices and resource consumption sectors. This is a change from the way that Green Globes New Construction is structured, as that system requires minimum point achievements in each of its seven categories. In addition, Green Globes SI has no criteria dealing with building location, and instead refers to the interiors team's "domain of influence" as outlined in the team's scope of work. 

The energy efficiency, IEQ, and material-related points and minimums account for roughly 800 of the system's 1,000 points, GBI president Jerry Yudelson says, however they don't function as prerequisites. Instead, the system is designed to allow users to pick and choose the strategies that best apply to each project in order to meet the mandated point minimums. "I wanted to give owners the flexibility to choose the items they thought were most appropriate and cost effective for their project," Yudelson says. Along these lines, the system also includes "non-applicable" criteria. "One way to accommodate different building types is to recognize that certain things that you require for an office building won't be applicable to a retail store or healthcare building," Yudelson explains. "If those points are genuinely not applicable, we allow you to take them off the table, up to a 10 percent maximum [of the project's total points]. However, the project team can't do this on its own. It must discuss this with its project's assessor." Similar to other versions of Green Globes, Green Globes SI will use a third-party assessor to review building characteristics and documentation, and this person will also issue a full project report. These assessors may also provide online and telephone support to building owners and teams during the certification process, according to GBI's press release. 

"The idea of a third-party assessor is still there in the system, and everything else that looks like Green Globes is there. However, I thought it was important to have an interior design standard that stood apart," Yudelson says, and like previous version of Green Globes, this version will be submitted for ANSI approval. "This will be submitted to the ANSI committee that is being convened for the New Construction update," Yudelson says, where it will be submitted for consideration as part of the New Construction standard. The committee will then decide whether the system should be reviewed as a component of the New Construction standard or if it should be evaluated as a stand-alone system for ANSI approval.

Click here for more information on Green Globes SI.