(Sorry if this is the wrong place to ask this. I considered politics--maybe that is better.)

I have seen various groups that try to set up small campaigns targeted at individual organizations to achieve a specific goal. Examples would be the various national organizations pushing fossil fuel divestment campaigns at businesses, colleges, etc.

Is there anything like that with the mission of trying to get businesses to retrofit or manage their buildings more sustainably? I have in mind the type of “white collar” business that owns or rents a lot of office space or similar commercial real estate. I have in mind actions like insulation, “smart” energy management, composting, rooftop gardening, etc.

My guess is that something like this does not exist, because the demands would need to be so specific to each building. But I figured I’d ask.

1 Answer 1


There are several active organizations which provide guidelines, ratings, and certification of sustainable buildings, focusing variously on energy, water, waste, and embodied carbon. Several standards also include a focus on occupant health, comfort, and safety. Links and descriptions below from Wikipedia:

Green Building Initiative

Green Building Initiative (GBI) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that owns and administers the Green Globes green building assessment and certification in the United States and Canada. It was established in 2004 and is headquartered in Portland, Oregon.

The organization works to accelerate the adoption of building practices that result in resource-efficient, healthier and environmentally sustainable buildings. It educates through the Green Globes certification program and Guiding Principles Compliance for federal building sustainability requirements, which provide independent verification for green building and operational practices. GBI focuses on energy conservation, reduced water consumption, responsible use of materials, ecological stewardship and healthy indoor environments for occupants.


Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is a green building certification program used worldwide. Developed by the non-profit U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), it includes a set of rating systems for the design, construction, operation, and maintenance of green buildings, homes, and neighborhoods, which aims to help building owners and operators be environmentally responsible and use resources efficiently. By 2015, there were over 80,000 LEED-certified buildings and over 100,000 LEED-accredited professionals. Most LEED-certified buildings are located in major U.S. metropolises. LEED Canada has developed a separate rating system for the regulations and climate of that country.

Living Building Challenge

The Living Building Challenge is an international sustainable building certification program created in 2006 by the non-profit International Living Future Institute. It is described by the Institute as a philosophy, advocacy tool and certification program that promotes the measurement of sustainability in the built environment. It can be applied to development at all scales, from buildings—both in new constructions and renovations—to infrastructure, landscapes, neighborhoods and communities, and differs from other green certification schemes such as LEED or BREEAM.

The end goal of the Living Building Challenge is to encourage the creation of a regenerative built environment. The challenge is an attempt "to raise the bar for building standards from doing less harm to contributing positively to the environment." It "acts to rapidly diminish the gap between current limits and the end-game positive solutions we seek" by pushing architects, contractors, and building owners out of their comfort zones.

Passive House

Passive house (German: Passivhaus) is a voluntary standard for energy efficiency in a building, which reduces the building's ecological footprint. It results in ultra-low energy buildings that require little energy for space heating or cooling. A similar standard, MINERGIE-P, is used in Switzerland. The standard is not confined to residential properties; several office buildings, schools, kindergartens and a supermarket have also been constructed to the standard. Passive design is not an attachment or supplement to architectural design, but a design process that integrates with architectural design. Although it is principally applied to new buildings, it has also been used for refurbishments.

A few others linked from these articles include BREEAM and MINERGIE -- I'm not familiar with them specifically so can't say if they meet the description in the question.

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