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With Green Building Certification, LEED Is No Longer the Only Game in Town

Just when everyone was starting to finally become so used to the U.S. Green Building Council‘s LEED certification that it’s nearly reached the point of ubiquity, up pops a new system that is going to try and provide an alternative. Launched this past fall and starting to make waves is the Society of Environmentally Responsible Facilities, or SERF certification for sure. Crain’s Detroit reports that the program was founded as an alternative to LEED, which founder Joe Maguire says has grown too expensive and time-consuming (you’ll recall that there have been questions about the program’s real world benefits as well). How much quicker and less expensive is SERF? Here’s a bit:

“Our timeline is four to six weeks,” he said. “They take two years. We’re approaching this from the perspective of the property owner and investor. How can the process be more efficient, more accessible?”

Among the differences, he said, is that the application can be filled out by the architect who designed the building rather than LEED’s requirement of hiring another architect to fill out the paperwork. A streamlined application process cuts down on the time it takes consultants — paid by the hour — to complete the work.

So far, the USGBC seems okay with the competition, telling Crain’s that they are okay with other certifications popping up, as anything to promote green building is a positive. Also, it’s fairly easy to say you aren’t too concerned when you have more than a billion square feet under your belt and a certification like SERF has 32 buildings in total to their name.

Update: The USGBC dropped us a line, letting us know about an error: “The quote from Joe Maguire says that LEED Certification takes two years, however, the timeline actually only ranges from 5-15 weeks but depends on the project and their submittals, as well as if the project has make any appeals on LEED credits.”

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