Green Business Bureau Blog
Understanding the Green Certification Options
Certifications can be an important part of any business field and organization. When you think about going green there are three basic categories or types of certifications that you should know about: green business certification, green products certification, and green building certification. Let’s overview each of these, including what they are and how they can benefit your company.
Green Business Certification Green business certifications focus on how a business is run, looking at a variety of different aspects and business practices. These certifications, including GBB certification, can look at building practices, sustainable business, recycling, waste reduction efforts, community service and so much more. Many green business certifications, including the GBB, can offer you excellent advice and information on how to make sustainable green changes in your business or community. In this way the green business certification organization can help you to build your green strategy. Then, once your green strategy is in place, the green business certification can help you advertise your efforts and results, and provide you with a certification stamp to use on all publications.
Green Product Certification Green product certifications are exactly what the name implies – a type of certification that is given not to a company, individual or institution, but rather a seal of approval applied to a specific product. There is no national standard for certifying a product as eco-friendly. Thus, a variety of organizations offer their own green product certifications. These certifications can look at different aspects of the product.
They might consider the manufacturing processes that created the products. They may look at the raw materials that went into making the item. They may consider the packaging and how much waste it will result in. They may also look at the lifecycle of the product, including longevity and what will happen to the product once it is no longer of use. The list goes on. If you are considering seeking green certification on a product, choose your certification company wisely. Look for one that has a good reputation, so that their stamp will have meaning for your product.
Green Building Certification When embarking upon major building renovations or building a completely new facility, green construction certifications can be important. The most well recognized certification today is LEED. Short for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, and a sub-group of the U.S. Department of Energy, this group provides ratings for buildings. These ratings tell how eco-friendly a building is. The LEED system looks at everything from structure to energy, even the intended operating procedures of the future occupants.
When a building is designed with LEED certification in mind the architect and designers will work to determine what areas are most important to be eco-friendly. The builders will consider materials (such as flooring and wallboard), appliances and fixtures (including lighting and bathroom facilities), construction practices (including waste management and storm water management), and how the building will be used (including proximity to public transportation).
LEED certification can help you during design by assisting with decision making. LEED certified engineers can calculate anticipated cost to savings ratios inherent to various design decisions. Once the building is built, LEED certification can be granted to a facility, which can be an excellent addition to an advertising strategy.
Choosing a Certification Choosing the right certification for you depends greatly upon your needs. It is possible that your company will seek all three types of certifications for different things at different times. You may seek LEED certification on a major facility upgrade, green product certification on a new product you are offering and green business certification on your company as a whole. Once you qualify for a certification be sure to apply for it and do whatever is necessary to complete the certification. Then, use it. That means putting the seals you earn on your website, product packaging, print materials and anywhere else that you can.