PORTLAND, Ore. — Earth Advantage Institute (EAI), a nonprofit sustainable building organization, has launched its Earth Advantage® Commercial (EAC) green building certification program aimed at small commercial buildings.

Earth Advantage Commercial has been redesigned based on a model founded by EAI in the late 1990s. Prior to EAI becoming a nonprofit in 2005, the first EAC program was a subsidiary of Portland General Electric and was responsible for certifying over 50 buildings. EAI said the updated program offers a rigorous green building certification that is accessible and cost effective for commercial buildings smaller than 100,000 square feet. Ninety five percent of all commercial buildings fall into this smaller category; however, green certification is often overlooked due to its perceived complexities and cost. EAC is a specific green building solution for this building type.

In 2010, EAI began piloting a retooled commercial certification concept in collaboration with Energy Trust of Oregon. Ten new buildings were involved in testing program requirements and viability. Late last year, EAI determined that the success of the pilot projects warranted a full national launch of the program in 2012. In August 2012, 12 representatives from eight architectural, engineering, and green building consulting firms successfully completed the two-day Project Trustee training and credentialing exam to become part of EAC’s Preferred Partner network. The Preferred Partner network is a new rapid deployment delivery mechanism for EAC certification that will initially be concentrated in the Pacific Northwest and the West Coast. Stacey Stemach, principal at the EAC Preferred Partner Ambient Architecture, said, “I am looking forward to the opportunity to certify new and existing buildings with the Earth Advantage Commercial program. The EAC program is best suited to the types and sizes of projects that we have in our practice.”

The program is based on three levels of certification: Platinum, Gold, and Silver. The measures are cumulative and prescriptive, allowing for a simplified certification process, said EAI.

“The success of our EAC pilot in Oregon, along with the tremendous interest we’ve received from across the country, is a clear indication that there is a demand for green building certification options for small commercial buildings. EAC is fully prepared to meet that demand,” said Diana Fischetti, the commercial program manager at EAI. “We are excited to work with our Preferred Partner network and many smaller commercial building projects that will now be empowered to ensure their buildings are built sustainably.”

For more information, visit www.earthadvantage.org.

Publication date: 10/15/2012