As the green building movement expands, the organization that planted the seed has had to grow along with it. In November 2007, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) announced a spinoff of its credentialing activities to a newly incorporated entity, the Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI).

The newly formed organization will develop and administer the credentialing programs for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), which is a rating system created by the USGBC to distinguish building professionals with the knowledge and skills to steward the certification process for energy-efficient buildings. The GBCI will serve as the independent administrator of the LEED Professional Accreditation program starting in January 2008.

Meanwhile, the green building movement also is moving into the remodeling business. In November 2007, the USGBC also announced a partnership with the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) Foundation to create the first nationwide green residential remodeling guidelines for existing homes. The guidelines, consisting of best practices using a whole-house approach, will be supplemented by learning programs and print and electronic resources for building professional and homeowners as part of what is being dubbed the REGREEN program. The two organizations have recently completed taking public comment on the draft guidelines, which will be finalized and released at Interiors 08: The ASID Conference on Design in March 2008.

In related news, the USGBC is planning to roll out a large revision of the LEED rating system sometime in fall 2008.

The USGBC seeks to consolidate into one LEED system, as opposed to current systems that apply to specific markets, such as residential. The USGBC also plans to address life-cycle analysis with the 2008 revision, and the system will grant credits based on geographic location. The overall goal will be to certify and connect design, construction and operations, and maintenance.

According to the USGBC, it is “harmonizing and aligning” credits in all LEED rating systems. For this purpose, the USGBC is reorganizing its committee structure, which will split into technical, market and certification committees.

The USGBC made this announcement at the sixth annual Greenbuild International Conference and Expo in Chicago, Nov. 7–9, 2007, which experienced almost 200 percent growth in attendance over last year.  EC