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Green building systems growing abroad

Today's Tyee presents a Cole's Notes-style guide to green building certification systems in Canada. But there are even more systems operating in China, Japan and beyond. If the British Columbia wood products industry aspires to evolve beyond exporting raw logs and cheap 2x4s, it might be worth knowing more about these international green building programs.

BREEAM --- The BRE Environmental Assessment Method was launched in 1990 in the United Kingdom, and served as the inspiration for LEED and many other systems. BREEM has certified more than more than 115,000 buildings, most of which are in the UK.

THREE STAR --- China is on it's way to becoming the largest construction market in the world, and China's government has set ambitious targets and guidelines for green building. The Green Building Evaluation Standard, also referred to as the Three Star System, was introduced in 2006 and is administered by the China Green Building Council. The standard complements BREEAM and LEED, which presently are used in China for office buildings for multinational companies or upscale apartments.

CASBEE --- The Comprehensive Assessment System for Building Environmental Efficiency was created by the Japan Sustainable Building Consortium in 2004. The CASBEE program is mainly a self-assessment system, though many elements have gradually been introduced into local Japanese regulatory directives.

GREEN STAR --- Based on BREEAM and LEED, Green Star is a voluntary building rating system that evaluates the environmental design and construction of buildings in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. It was launched by the non-profit Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) in 2002.

HK-BEAM --- The Hong Kong Building Environmental Assessment Method rewards buildings that are built, operated and maintained using sustainable practices. Because Hong Kong is a subtropical, high-density and high-rise community, HK-BEAM emphasizes indoor environmental quality more than other green building rating systems.

NATIONAL GREEN BUILDING STANDARD --- A joint project between two American groups, the National Green Building Standard aims to establish a consensus-based, national standard for the US residential market. The Standard is maintained according to ANSI requirements and was approved by ANSI in January 2009. It sponsors the NAHB National Green Building Conference, the NAHB National Green Building Awards, and offers the Certified Green Professional designation for building professionals.

In addition, Argentina, Brasil, Chile, Colombia India, Italy, Jordan, Mexico, Norway, Romania, Russia, Spain, Sweden and the United Arab Emirates are among the nations that have established national green building councils patterned on the US Green Building Council, which maintains the LEED standard.

Monte Paulsen researches sustainability for the non-profit Tyee Solutions Society.

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