Together, the electrical, building and fire codes form the building codes that govern local facilities. These programs are always in a state of evolution and change, and respond to the trends and demands of the market, to owners, users and influential people in the field of green building. The International Building Code and the International Residential Code now provide details on how to calculate the loads that photovoltaic systems add to a building. While requiring a single application form under existing permit granting processes represents an improvement over requiring a building and electrical permit, it can still take longer to complete, review and approve permits through a process that is not specifically designed for solar energy.
This page provides an introduction to some of the most commonly used terms and an overview of the most recognized green building product standards and of the building qualification and certification programs currently in use, emphasizing how they vary and some of the aspects that should be considered when selecting them. BREEAM has served as the basis for many of the green building certification systems, including LEED and Green Globes. The momentum towards sustainable design increased with the launch in 1990 of the Building Research Establishment's Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM), the world's first green building rating system. In November, two laws came into force requiring new homeowners to build solar panels or green spaces on their roofs.
Green Seal, a third-party certification and labeling program that covers a wide range of products with industry-specific requirements, in particular consumable items for building operations and maintenance. Green building design strategies are being applied in a very diverse range of projects, from office buildings to schools, stadiums, hospitals and entire neighborhoods. Low-rise residential buildings with less than 100 square feet of available space and other types of buildings with less than 200 square feet will also be exempt, and sustainable measures will not replace recreational spaces that are an integral part of building use, such as playgrounds on school roofs or apartment building terraces. Green Building Council (USGBC), for rating the design and construction practices that continue to define green buildings in the United States and around the world.
Living Building Challenge (LBC) is a performance-based system initially launched by the Cascadia Green Building Council. Green building certification also provides incentives for customers, owners, designers and users to develop and promote highly sustainable construction practices. Green building qualification or certification systems extend the approach beyond the product to consider the project as a whole. Usually, the contractor installing the solar energy system will submit the permit on behalf of the building owner.
Phius' climate-specific passive construction standards guide designers and builders in the design and construction of passive buildings around the world.