Benefits.  Desert Skies provides a variety of Green Building certifications and building ratings for residential and commercial customers. Third-party certification is a widely-accepted practice in new construction and renovation projects and adds credibility to any green building. The certification also adds a layer of accountability and integrity for the building project team.

There are tangible benefits that come with green building certification that include:

  • Higher rental or resale value
  • Enhanced building occupant comfort and tenant satisfaction
  • Increased employee productivity and retention
  • Lower operating and life cycle costs
  • Market differentiator
  • Meets organizational sustainability and corporate responsibility goals

Certifications and Rating Systems.  There are many factors taken into account when green building certification is considered for a project. The Desert Skies team can provide guidance to the project team to determine the type of certification, if any, that should be utilized for a particular project. Some of the available Green Building Certification or Rating systems and a brief description for each system is listed below:

Energy Star for Buildings:  Energy Star was originally developed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a voluntary labeling program to promote energy-efficient products and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design):  Established in 1998, LEED has transformed the way we think about how our buildings and communities are designed, constructed, maintained and operated across the globe.

Living Building Challenge:  The Living Building Challenge (LBC) is a philosophy, advocacy platform, and certification program that promotes a very high building standard linked to net zero energy, net zero water, beauty, and more.

WELL Building Standard:  The WELL Building Standard focuses on the health and wellness impacts that buildings have on occupants.  Areas of concentration are air, water, nourishment, light, fitness, comfort, and mind.

Passive House: The Passivhaus standard was developed in Germany in the early 1990s and the first dwellings to be completed to the Passivhaus Standard were constructed in Darmstadt in 1991.

NZEB (Net Zero Energy Building):  The Net Zero Energy Building (NZEB) certification is also petal achievement under the holistic Living Building Challenge and both are administered by The International Living Future Institute.

BOMA 360 Performance Program:  The BOMA 360 Performance Program awards buildings that meet industry best practices in building management and operations as determined by BOMA International.

Green Globes:  The Green Globes system was based on the Building Research Establishment’s Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM) by the Canadian Standards Association.

Energy Star for Homes:  Energy Start certification was first offered for homes in 1995.  Initially focused on windows, air sealing, heating, cooling, and ventilation, the Energy Star label has since been updated to apply to more components of the home–including lighting, insulation, and appliances.

HERS (Home Energy Rating System):  The Home Energy Rating System is an evaluation of energy efficiency and forecasted energy costs within a home.

National Green Building Standard:  The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and the International Code Council (ICC) partnered to establish a nationally recognized standard definition of green building for homes.

Parksmart:  Parksmart is a building certification system specifically designed for parking garages that aims to reduce environmental impact of these structures through improved energy and parking efficiencies as well an encouraging alternative transportation and making effort to become an asset to the community.

Zero Tool:  Architecture 2030 developed the Zero Tool for building sector professionals, 2030 Challenge and 2030 Commitment adopters, 2030 District Network Members, and policymakers. The Zero Tool is used to compare a building’s design or an existing building’s fossil fuel energy use intensity with similar building types.

Desert Skies team members are certified to perform many of the above green building rating evaluations and, in cases where we do not have in-house expertise, we can facilitate completion of a rating evaluation in collaboration with other green building system professionals.