Green Building Certifications, Codes, and Standards cove.tool Supports

FACT: Green building practices and certifications have gained significant importance due to their ability to mitigate environmental impact, provide economic benefits, comply with regulatory requirements, and enhance occupant health and well-being.  Green building certifications serve as credible proof of a building's sustainability performance.  

Let's explore the significance of green building certifications and how cove.tool can simplify and streamline the certification process. 

Importance of Green Building and Green Building Certifications  

Green building practices play a crucial role in reducing the environmental impact of the construction industry. They promote resource efficiency, reduce energy consumption, enhance indoor air quality, and minimize waste generation.  

Green building certifications act as benchmarks for evaluating a building's sustainability performance across various criteria, such as energy efficiency; water conservation, materials selection; and occupant health and well-being, providing tangible proof of a building's commitment to sustainability. Additionally, green building certifications can lead to long-term operational carbon reduction and cost savings. Below, we present a few examples of prominent green building certifications: 

USGBC LEED 

The U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification is one of the most widely recognized and respected green building certifications globally.  

LEED evaluates buildings based on criteria such as energy efficiency, water conservation, materials selection, indoor environmental quality, and sustainable site development. It offers different certification levels, including Certified, Silver, Gold, and Platinum.  

The certification process involves registering the project, submitting documentation, and undergoing a thorough review. The time required for certification varies depending on the project's complexity and size.  

Achieving LEED certification demonstrates a commitment to sustainability and can lead to several benefits, including energy savings, improved occupant comfort, and positive brand image. 

Now, cove.tool can be used to pursue 10 Credits from the LEED BD+C V4.0. That means up to 36 Points (including 3 Prerequisite Credits & 2 Pilot Credits). For an explanation of how cove.tool helps earn LEED points can be found in this article

cove.tool simplifies the LEED certification process by providing valuable insights, optimizing energy efficiency, and generating documentation required for certification. 

WELL Building Standard  

The WELL Building Standard focuses on enhancing human health and well-being through the design and operation of buildings. It covers several aspects, including air quality, water quality, lighting, acoustics, thermal comfort, and mental well-being.  
WELL v2, like other GBCI rating systems, follows a points-based approach, with 110 points available on the project scorecard. Successful WELL certification requires passing scores in all concepts, ensuring that each feature meets the standard's criteria for human well-being.  

Projects can achieve one of three tiers (Silver, Gold, and Platinum) based on the percentage of points earned. Certification is valid for three years, emphasizing the importance of ongoing adherence, and annual performance data submission is required for select features that require frequent reporting. 

cove.tool aligns with specific requirements of the WELL Standard V2, Q4 2021. It can be used to conduct daylight simulations for achieving sDA and ASE criteria, assess site planning with access to mass transit based on Transit Score®, and assist in achieving green building certification approved by IWBI. By utilizing cove.tool's capabilities, users can effectively work towards meeting these specific features of the WELL Standard. 

Green Globes 

Green Globes® is a science-based nationally recognized green rating assessment, guidance, and certification program which is owned and administered by Green Building Initiative (GBI). 

 Green Globes program supports a wide range of new construction and existing building project types and is designed to allow building owners and managers to select which sustainability features best fit their building and occupants.  

Green Globes recognizes projects that meet at least 35% of the 1,000 available points and issues certifications in 4 levels. Green Globes is unique in the way that it offers the support of third-party experts, skilled in green building design best practices, who connect with the project teams to review documentation, answer questions, conduct on-site building assessments, and offer insightful suggestions to enhance sustainable practices. 

cove.tool streamlines the Green Globes 7-category certification process by providing optimization tools and data-driven insights on the Integrated Design Process (IDP), Energy Performance, Building Opaque Envelope (orientation and Fenestration Systems), Daylighting, Energy Efficient Transportation, Water Consumption, lighting design and systems for the indoor environment. 

Passive House Institute US – PHIUS+ 

The PHIUS+ Passive Building Standard, maintained by the Passive House Institute US (PHIUS), sets climate-specific goals for energy and carbon reduction while considering cost-effectiveness.  

It applies to various building types, including single-family homes, multifamily buildings, and large-scale commercial structures. A passive house adheres to five building science principles, which include continuous insulation, an airtight envelope, high-performance windows and doors, balanced ventilation, and minimal space conditioning systems.  

Meeting the PHIUS+ standard results in significantly lower energy use, improved indoor air quality, resilience, and a comfortable indoor environment. 

cove.tool can be integrated into the PHIUS workflow alongside WUFI® Passive, allowing users to customize inputs and assess energy consumption and cost premiums.  

After completing the design simulation in cove.tool, project information and geometry can be exported as a gbXML file to or from WUFI® Passive for validation to compare other modeling software for final validation to meet PHIUS+ criteria. 

cove.tool aids in PHIUS certification by optimizing building designs, conducting energy modeling, and achieving the required performance metrics. Use cove.tool to rapidly analyze each strategy (insulation, infiltration, heat recovery, high-performance windows, and solar gain). 

BREEAM Certification 

BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method) is a leading international sustainability certification. It assesses buildings in categories such as energy, water, materials, and management. 

Using the BREEAM UK New Construction Technical Manual to identify cove.tool features for achieving BREEAM credits, cove.tool assists in achieving BREEAM certification by optimizing building designs and ensuring compliance with sustainability requirements. 

With its automated daylighting tool, cove.tool supports the achievement of HEA 01 (Glare, Daylight & Views) category of BREEAM by enabling efficient full-floor Spatial Daylight Autonomy (sDA) and Annual Solar Exposure (ASE) analyses, assessing glare control and daylighting requirements. Additionally, the cove.tool helps evaluate unobstructed views by analyzing the proximity of windows to floor space, aligning with BREEAM's view out credit.  

In terms of energy efficiency and carbon emissions reduction (ENE 01), cove.tool calculates its own energy baseline using industry-standard assumptions, local climate data, and selected energy code inputs.  

For water consumption (WAT 01), users can compare assessed building consumption against baseline performance using cove.tool's water consumption components method. 

Lastly, in relation to BREEAM's Pol 04 (Reduction of Nighttime Light Pollution) and Pol 02 (Local Air Quality) credits, cove.tool provides options to set external lighting to zero and select non-combustion systems for heating and hot water supply, respectively. 

NGBS: National Green Building Standard 

The National Green Building Standard (NGBS) is a certification program for residential and commercial buildings in the United States. It covers various aspects of sustainability, including energy efficiency, resource conservation, and indoor environmental quality. 

In a partnership with the ASHRAE, the International Code Council (ICC), and the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), the NGBS was developed to provide a uniform platform for advancing green residential construction and development. Most notably, NGBS is the only green building rating system approved by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), an international private non-profit organization that sets requirements for openness, balance, consensus, and due process. 

The certification measures high-performance in six areas: Site Design and Development, Resource Efficiency, Water Efficiency, Energy Efficiency, Indoor Environmental Quality, and Building Operation and Maintenance. 

With 4 levels of certification (Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Emerald), NGBS is similar to LEED’s point-based system, wherein a single-family or multifamily building(s) can attain certification depending on the sustainable and green practices included in design and construction and planned for its operation and maintenance.  

cove.tool provides valuable support in meeting the requirements of the NGBS by offering a range of features and functionalities and enabling users to optimize building designs, evaluate energy consumption, and calculate carbon emissions, helping align projects with the NGBS criteria.  

Additionally, cove.tool's integration with the NGBS credits facilitates efficient tracking and assessment of progress towards meeting certification requirements, ensuring compliance with the standards set by the NGBS. 

Canada's Zero Carbon Building Standard (ZCB) 

The Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act, enacted in June 2021, solidifies Canada's commitment to achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. To meet this target, the building sector must adhere to new standards. Currently, buildings in Canada account for nearly 30% of total emissions when considering materials and operations. Therefore, all building designs and retrofits must aim for zero carbon to contribute to the country's climate goals.

Canada's Zero Carbon Building Standard evaluates buildings' carbon emissions, energy efficiency, and renewable energy use.  

cove.tool streamlines the ZCB certification process by providing energy modeling tools, optimizing building designs, and ensuring compliance with zero-carbon requirements. 

Looking for energy codes? cove.tool has that covered, too! >>

HERS Index 

The HERS (Home Energy Rating System) Index measures a home's energy efficiency compared to a standard reference home. cove.tool assists in HERS certification by optimizing energy performance, conducting energy simulations, and providing data-driven insights for achieving desired ratings. 

A home energy rating includes both carrying out an energy analysis (BEM, building energy model) in the pre-construction phase and onsite inspections after construction, and typically a blower door test. 

After HERS evaluates your building, they provide recommendations on how you can improve your building’s energy efficiency which might or might not be cheap and easily implementable.  
cove.tool can be used in the early stages of design and can help with saving cost and time through creating an energy-efficient design and being aware of a home's EUI (Energy Use Intensity) from the early/schematic design stage; facade prototyping; and determining (WWR) of fenestration as well as appropriate shading devices.   

Living Building Challenge Certifications  

The Living Building Challenge (LBC) is a rigorous green building certification program promoting regenerative and self-sufficient buildings. It focuses on areas such as energy, water, materials, and equity.  

Developed by the International Living Future Institute (ILFI), the certification program encourages designers, builders, and owners to work together to have their buildings function "as cleanly and efficiently as a flower." The LBC's mission is to lead the transformation toward a civilization that is socially just, culturally rich, and ecologically restorative.  

The Challenge is comprised of 20 Imperatives which are grouped into 7 categories known as the Petals. The Petals are Place, Water, Energy, Health + Happiness, Materials, Equity, and Beauty. 

cove.tool aids in Living Building Challenge certifications by offering optimization tools, conducting energy modeling, and ensuring compliance with program requirements in the following ways: 

  • Helps assess the appropriate scale for a project through the Properties Lines Feature 

  • Determines site accessibility with Walk Scores 

  • Estimates water use for indoor and outdoor strategies with the Water Tool Feature and Stormwater Management calculator 

  • Uses the Baseline Energy Page to calculate and model energy strategies, including carbon emissions reduction 

  • Identifies energy-performing and low carbon-emitting bundles with the Optimization Tool 

  • Ensures comfort in occupied spaces with the Daylight and Quality Views 3D Analysis 

  • Optimizes sunlight accessibility for adjacent developments the Shadow Tool and Sun Hours Feature 

  • Informs the aesthetics and the light, space, shapes and forms of a building with the various 3D Analysis features. 

Toronto Green Standard (TGS) 

The Toronto Green Standard is a local certification program focusing on sustainable development in Toronto, Canada. It encompasses categories such as energy efficiency, water conservation, and site development.  

The Toronto Green Standard is organized into five concepts: Air Quality, Building Energy, emissions and resilience, Water Quality and Efficiency, Ecology and biodiversity and, Waste and the circular economy. 

cove.tool can be utilized to address various features of the Toronto Green Standard v4. The platform offers tools and functionalities to assist with connectivity assessments, calculating greenhouse gas emissions limits, evaluating materials emissions, assessing energy performance, benchmarking and reporting, and managing water balance, quality, and quantity. 

Green Star Certification 

Launched by the Green Building Council of Australia in 2003, Green Star is an Internationally recognized sustainability rating system for the built environment.  

By leveraging the cove.tool's features and capabilities, building professionals can effectively address and fulfill the various Green Star credits (Green House Gas Emissions), water (potable water), and IEQ (indoor environment quality). 

Indoor Environment Quality (IEQ) - Visual Comfort  

1 point is available when 60% of the nominated area has a clear line of sight to an external or internal view. cove.tool view analyses a building based on 3 types of quality views (90-degree sight lines, Sky and Context, and Unobstructed View) and 1 overall summary analysis (Total Quality Views) which can be helpful to earn USGBC LEED credit. 

Energy - Green House Gas Emissions 

To encourage energy-efficient buildings and the reduction of GHG emissions, several pathways are proposed and the prescriptive way can be fulfilled using cove.tool. There are several international energy codes that are compliant with cove.tool and so is the Australian National Construction Code (NCC), 2019. The prescriptive method in Green Star awards up to 10 points if the building envelope achieves 15% increase in the minimum R-value specified in the NCC.  

Water - Potable Water 

Green Star encourages a reduction in potable water use and up to 12 points can be achieved through measures that show a reduction in water consumption through a selection of equipment like toilets, taps, and showers. The percentage reduction can be calculated using the water-use tab in cove.tool. Learn more about the water tool here.  

cove.tool provides a simplified process for calculating energy consumption and carbon emissions, allowing users to optimize designs and select the most sustainable options.  

The platform's integration with Green Star credits enables users to track and assess their progress in meeting specific certification requirements, ensuring compliance with the rigorous standards set by Green Star.  

cove.tool simplifies the Green Star certification process by offering data-driven insights and optimization tools to achieve sustainable building designs. 

TREES Credits 

TREEs, which stands for Thai's Rating of Energy and Environmental Sustainability, is a rating system introduced by the Thai Green Building Institute (TGBI) to promote energy-efficient and environmentally friendly construction in Thailand. With a total of 9 sections – BM3, SL 1, SL 2, WC 1, EA 1, and EA 2,  cove.tool offers features that assist with several credits within the TREEs framework. 

cove.tool aligns with the BM 3 credit by assisting the project team in monitoring and evaluating green building activities through automated reports that track the impact of design changes. In relation to SL 1, cove.tool allows users to document the site's location in a previously developed area and generate context within a 1-mile radius.  For SL 2, cove.tool supports the reduction of private car use by providing the Transit Score, which assesses the accessibility of public transportation. In terms of WC 1, cove.tool provides data on water usage, enabling users to calculate the percentage reduction from the baseline.  In EA 1, cove.tool facilitates the comparison of the whole building's Energy Use Intensity (EUI) with ASHRAE 90.1-2017 standards.  Lastly, cove.tool's optimization feature aligns with EA 2 by allowing the selection of parametric combinations, such as solar panels and energy savings, to meet the requirements for on-site renewable energy systems. 

By utilizing cove.tool's capabilities, architects and project teams can effectively address and achieve these credits within the TREEs rating system, promoting sustainable building practices and environmental stewardship in Thailand. 

Energy Star Certification 

ENERGY STAR is a government-backed program formed in 1992 by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to promote energy efficiency. ENERGY STAR program helps consumers, businesses, and industries save money and protect the environment through the adoption of energy-efficient products and practices. A critical part of Energy Star is its ENERGY STAR rating system, which focuses on three main areas: Products, new and existing homes, and commercial businesses. 

Getting an Energy Star label means that a product or a building is cost-effective and meets the criteria and federally mandated guidelines regarding the energy-efficiency. While additional services and programs are available within the Energy Star program, this article mainly focuses on Energy Star Portfolio Manager, which is one of the program's robust tools.  

cove.tool helps Portfolio Manager users by providing data required for ENERGY STAR Score calculation. In the design projects, users need to input the property use details along with estimated design energy to get an ENERGY STAR Score. In addition to some of the property use details such as the Gross Floor Area and weekly operating hours, the estimated energy use can be provided by our software. The EUI breakdown for each of the building systems is listed in the Baseline Energy Page. By multiplying the EUI by the floor area, the estimated energy can be calculated and inputted in the Portfolio Manager tool. 

DGNB Certification 

The DGNB certification is a renowned German sustainability certification system. It evaluates buildings based on criteria such as life cycle assessment, holistic alignment, and continued high-quality performance.  

The certification system evaluates the planning, construction, and operations of various building types, districts, and interior projects. In terms of its evaluation approach, projects are analyzed differently depending on the type and scope of the project. The aim is to always promote the uniform design and delivery of high-quality buildings, districts, and interiors. 

In contrast to other certification standards which may isolate measures of impact, the DGNB certification process consistently takes into account the entire life cycle of a project. As a planning and optimization tool, it helps all those involved in each phase from planning to deconstruction. 

cove.tool simplifies the DGNB certification process by providing data-driven insights, optimizing energy performance, and facilitating documentation and reporting. These include calculating water use and potential reduction, modeling flexible and adaptable layouts, assessing visual comfort and user control, evaluating building envelope quality, and exploring passive strategies and building technology integration.  

 

cove.tool and Green Building Certifications  

Green building certifications are essential for promoting sustainability, environmental responsibility, and occupant well-being in the construction industry. With the help of cove.tool, professionals can streamline the certification process, optimize building designs, and achieve higher levels of sustainability.  

By embracing the power of cove.tool, architects, engineers, and project teams can navigate the complexities of green building certifications with ease, contributing to a more sustainable future. 

Unlock the potential of green building certifications and empower your projects with cove.tool for a greener and more sustainable built environment.

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