Although LEED certification is possible for buildings of any size, the green building program can be cost-prohibitive for small facilities. The Earth Advantage Institute’s new Earth Advantage Commercial (EAC) certification hopes to change the number of small U.S. buildings being certified by offering a more affordable green building certification option.
Even though 95% of all commercial buildings fall into the “small” category (under 100,000 square feet), these facilities often overlook green certification because of complexities and cost, according to the Earth Advantage Institute.
Much like LEED, EAC offers three certification levels: Silver, Gold, and Platinum. The green building rating system addresses sustainability in five categories:
- Energy Efficiency (solar-ready designs, fault detection and diagnostics, energy management plans, etc.)
- Water Conservation (high-efficiency or no irrigation, automatic faucets, tracking water use in Portfolio Manager, etc.)
- Healthy Environment (occupant thermal control, glare reduction and access to daylight, low-emitting interior products, etc.)
- Use of Green Materials (built-in recycling centers, local materials, construction waste management plans, etc.)
- Sustainable Land Use (use of native plants, stockpiling topsoil, shielding exterior lights, preserving existing trees, etc.)
EAC certification is administered through a select group of architecture, engineering, and green building consulting firms. These partner organizations deliver most of the certification services in-house, with the Earth Advantage Institute providing tools, guidance, and oversight of the certification review at the end of the project. Partner organizations include:
- Ambient Architecture
- Brightworks Sustainability Advisors
- Chesshir Architecture
- Green Hammer Design & Build
- Mazzetti Nash Lipsey Burch
- Pinnacle Architecture
- Steele Associates Architects
- System Design Consultants
- Vidas Architecture LLC
It currently costs $2,500 to enroll a building in the EAC program, and another $2,500 to complete the certification. The partners who offer certification services may also add a fee for their time. View a list of buildings that have achieved EAC certification.
Does EAC certification appeal to you? Would you consider certifying your building through the Earth Advantage Institute?