This article explains what Green Globes is and how cove.tool can help building owners, facility managers, and project teams to collect points and become Green Globes certified.

What is Green Globes program?

Green Globes® is a science-based nationally recognized green rating assessment, guidance, and certification program which is owned and administered by Green Building Initiative (GBI). Green Globes program supports a wide range of new construction and existing building project types and designed to allow building owners and managers to select which sustainability features best fit their building and occupants. Green Globes recognizes projects that meet at least 35% of the 1,000 available points and issues certifications in 4 levels. Green Globes is unique in the way that it offers the support of third-party experts, skilled in green building design best practices, who connect with the project teams to review documentation, answer questions, conduct on-site building assessments, and offer insightful suggestions to enhance sustainable practices.

How cove.tool helps the project teams to achieve points for Green Globe Certification?

Green Globes online survey (Preliminary Assessment stage) has 7 main categories. Each category is broken down into several subcategories. Each subcategory has several criteria each with a certain number of points. Among the Green Globes Environmental Assessment Areas, cove.tool helps the project team with 4 categories out of 7 as follows:

1. Project Management

Among the three subcategories for project management, cove.tool can indirectly helps with meeting the criteria under the Integrated Design Process (IDP). Our platform is designed to be an early stage performance evaluation tool and therefore assists the project team to set the performance goals in the early stages of design. Also, it offers a beneficial way for the teams in various disciplines to work together on a project in the pre-design planning sessions. With cove.tool, users can archive their project goals at each stage and document the evolution of the decisions made throughout SD, DD, and even CD. Thus, a quick and organized framework for the IDP process.

In addition to the above, the Manage Team feature within cove.tool facilitates the collaboration between different project teams by allowing the members from various disciplines to participate in a single project and make changes in the inputs relevant to their area of expertise.

2. Energy

Under the Energy section, cove.tool can help with achieving points in the following subcategories:

2.1 Energy Performance (Path A, B, C, D)

Green Globes provides four paths for assessing energy performance and each path requires energy design modeling to establish the proposed energy performance (energy use) for a building. The proposed EUI will then be inputted into the Energy Star Target Finder or bEQ to determine a benchmark baseline for a building. Since the Energy Performance criteria require a whole building energy simulation with detailed zoning, cove.tool cannot directly help to earn the points (check back for an update in 1st quarter 2021). However, by conducting a preliminary energy design modeling which is tested and calibrated to be within 3-5% of EnergyPlus, cove.tool estimates the preliminary number of points that could be achieved for the proposed design. cove.tool uses the ISO 13790, a full heat balance engine, with prescriptive inputs from the selected energy code (including ANSI/ASHRAE/IES Standard 90.1-2010, Path A, Appendix G), industry-standard assumptions based on the building type selection, and the most local and recent climate data (weather file) to calculate Baseline EUI and EUI breakdown.

Furthermore, we use CBECS Data Set which is also utilized by Energy Star, to look up industry benchmarks for Building types and output national EUI averages, which users can use to evaluate their own performance. The building EUI and 2030 baseline EUI (adopted from CBECS) can be used to estimate the number of points that can be achieved in this category.

2.2 Building Opaque Envelope

2.2.1 Orientation

All the area take-offs including the fenestration areas in each cardinal direction are available on the geometry page within cove.tool. Based on the cove.tool geometry summary, users can determine whether the building oriented such that the ratio of the north/south fenestration area to the east/west fenestration area is between 1.25 and 2.00 or not.

2.2.2 Fenestration Systems

The credit requires Calculation of the overall U-factor of the building's fenestration system based on a weighted area average of the assemblies. Users can use the glazing area take-offs from the cove.tool geometry page to calculate the weighted area average of the fenestrations U factor and gain the points for this category.

2.3 Lighting

2.3.1. Daylighting
All the building's geometrical data will be collected and reported on the geometry page. When one of the cove.tool plugins are used to import a model into the web-app. Users can use this report to check whether the regularly occupied side-lit daylighted areas (vertical fenestration) and the top-lit daylighted areas (skylights) equal to at least 10% of the net building area or not.

2.4 Other Energy Efficient Equipment and Measures

2.4.1 Other Energy Efficient Equipment

Users can simply observe the changes in the whole building EUI by changing the cove.tool plug load and lighting fixture inputs and recalculating the whole building EUI on the baseline page. Moreover, users can explore the impact of lighting and plug loads improvement through the cove.tool optimization feature. This feature helps the users to parametrically analyze the energy savings achieved by the selection of energy-efficient building equipment and evaluate the changes in the EUI by adding various lighting and equipment options to the optimization page.

2.5 Energy Efficient Transportation

cove.tool allows users to access data needed to understand if the criteria under this category can be met or not. When importing a model to the web-app, context data for approximately 1 mile around the project's specific location will be automatically generated. The context map, buildings, property lines, and further information about the project site such as locations of public transit stops, bicycle lanes, stop lights, and traffic directions are sourced from MapBox. With all this information, users can observe whether the site located within 0.25 mi (0.4 km) of a public transportation facility and a bicycle lane or not.

Additionally, cove.tool automates the site analysis to help understand how good the site is in terms of walking, transit, and biking. On the downloadable PDF Report on the Baseline page, users can see the project's Walk Score, Transit Score, and Bike Score which are calculated based on the calculation methodology offered by https://www.walkscore.com/. This report helps the users to understand if they can earn points under the walkability index criteria.

3. Water:

3.1 Water Consumption

cove.tool has a water tool for planning and concept testing which can help users to anticipate the number of points that can be achieved in the water consumption category. Using the 5 Fixture Categories, and building floor area, cove.tool will calculate the difference between the water-use of baseline fixture flow rates and low flow rates to determine indoor water use reduction. Users can use their values and enter them into the Green Globes water consumption calculator to figure out the percentage of indoor water-saving and associated points allocated to the project.

4. Indoor Environment

4.1 Lighting Design and Systems

4.1.1 Daylighting

One of the 3D analysis features is the quality view assessment. This feature offers 4 quality view assessments which help users to understand What percentage of task areas have views to the exterior or atria within 25 ft. (7.6 m) from a window.

  • Total Quality Views: Total percentage of floor area that has at least two of the following three kinds of views.
  • Type 1 - 90° Sight Lines: Multiple lines of sight to vision glazing in different directions at least 90 degrees apart
  • Type 2 - Sky and Context: Views that include at least view to the sky and objects at least 25 feet (7.5 meters) from the exterior of glazing
  • Type 3 - Unobstructed View: Unobstructed views located within a distance of three times head height of vision glazing

Users can use the quality view feature to meet the criteria and earn up to 5 points.

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