GBCI, formerly known as the Green Building Certification Institute, has changed its name to Green Business Certification Inc. It will continue to be referred by the acronym GBCI.

GBCI administers project certifications and professional credentials within the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED Green Building Rating System. USGBC describes GBCI as its “credentialing subsidiary.”  

In September of last year, USGBC announced that GBCI would also provide certification and credentialing services for the PEER standard for power systems. In October a similar announcement was made for the WELL building standard, measuring, certifying and monitoring features of the built environment that impact human health and well-being. And that same month USGBC announced that it had acquired the Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark (GRESB), an organization committed to assessing the sustainability performance of real estate portfolios around the globe. With these 3 nonprofit corporate mergers of effort, the mission of GBCI broadened from the time of its inception in 2007.

In response to that expanded mission, on February 23, 2015, the Green Building Certification Institute board of directors voted to approve “articles of amendment” for the nonprofit corporation changing the name of the entity to Green Business Certification Inc. Those articles of amendment were filed with the government of the District of Columbia on April 6, 2015 and were effective that date.

But the old name remains in statutes and contracts and more. From a corporateness perspective, the entity remains and all that has changed is the name.

Members of the environmental industrial complex that deal in matters of LEED should review their contracts and other documents and update them now. Statutes and government programs referencing LEED should be brought current. The operative language might be some variation of ..  

“a structure that has achieved, as certified by Green Business Certification Inc., [formerly known as the Green Building Certification Institute,] a [Silver] level or higher rating in the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system”

[The text above is the language proposed to be substituted in Baltimore City’s existing green building law which requires all new construction and renovations be green, including allowing structures that are LEED Silver certified.]

Correctly referring to LEED certification is of paramount importance in legal opinions given in building acquisitions and financing. It can also be critical in contracts between owners and architects, owners and contractors, subcontractors and materialmen, and the like, where a properly drafted contract is the single best method of risk mitigation in green building. That contract language might be some variation of ..

“The parties expressly acknowledge that LEED certification is awarded by Green Business Certification Inc. (GBCI), an independent third party organization related to the U.S. Green Building Council, and may be dependent on matters beyond Consultant’s control, such as Owner’s use and operation of the Project. Consultant will perform its services with professional skill and care but it cannot and does not warrant or guarantee that the Project will be awarded LEED certification or other third party approval.”

[The text above is from the general conditions of a consultant contract with an owner.]

GBCI has changed its name to Green Business Certification Inc. and it is time for you to consult with your green building attorney and change your contracts and other documents.