Green Building and Sustainability Standards


In 2010, The Green Building Initiative (GBI) completed the first American National Standards Institute (ANSI) approved standard for commercial green buildings, ANSI/GBI 01-2010: Green Building Assessment Protocol for Commercial Buildings. The ANSI/GBI 01-2010 standard was derived from the Green Globes environmental design and assessment rating system for New Construction and uses a holistic approach to commercial green building through the use of seven assessment areas: Project Management, Site, Water, Energy, Emissions, Indoor Environment and Resources.

The ANSI standard addresses low-slope roofing within its assessment of the building site. To satisfy the standard, 40% or more of the exposed surface of a roof must be either vegetated, and/or be covered with a material having a solar reflective index (SRI) of 78 or greater. A maximum of six points are awarded within this assessment category and distributed as follows:

  • 40-55% of the exposed roof surface has SRI of ≥78 = 2 points
  • 56-70% of the exposed roof surface has SRI of ≥78 = 4 points
  • Greater than 71% of the exposed roof surface has SRI of ≥78 = 6 points


ASHRAE Standard 189.1, High Performance Green Building Standard The American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) has partnered with the US Green Building Council (USGBC) and Illuminating Engineering Society (IES) to publish the nation’s first code-intended high-performance green building standard – Standard 189.1, Standard for the Design of High-Performance Green Buildings, Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings.

The green building standard provides compliance options for high-performance commercial green buildings and establishes mandatory criteria in all topic areas: site sustainability, water use efficiency, energy efficiency, indoor environmental quality (IEQ) and the building’s impact on the atmosphere, materials and resources.

Roofing is addressed in the site sustainability requirements of Standard 189.1. With regard to low-slope roofing, the ASHRAE standard calls for a minimum of 75% of the roof surface to be covered with roofing materials with a solar reflectance index (SRI) of at least 78 and comply with the criteria for the EPA’s Energy Star® Program Requirements for Roof Products. Roof penetrations, rooftop decks and walkways, vegetated systems and photovoltaics are not part of the computation.

For more information on ASHRAE Standard 189.1 and for an easily readable version of the standard, visit


ICC-700 is the only residential green building rating system approved by ANSI. The four threshold levels, Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Emerald, provide commercial builders of new high-rise multifamily buildings, renovations and additions, hotels and motels with a means to achieve basic, entry-level green building, or achieve the highest level of sustainable green building that incorporates energy savings of 60 percent or higher. Dozens of regional and local green initiatives refer to the standard within their program criteria. To obtain a copy of the standard, visit


The International Green Construction Code (IgCC) is the first model code to include sustainability measures for the entire construction project and its site — from design through construction and certificate of occupancy. The IgCC creates a regulatory framework for new and existing buildings, establishing minimum green requirements for buildings and complementing voluntary rating systems, which may extend beyond the IgCC baseline. The code acts as an overlay to the existing set of International Codes, including provisions of International Energy Conservation Code ICC-700, the National Green Building Standard, and incorporates ASHRAE Standard 189.1 as an alternate path to compliance. For an overview of the code, download a presentation at PowerPoint, [6.4 MB].

Cool Roofing Codes,
Programs and Standards

Vinyl roof surfaces, also known as PVC membrane roofing, can improve the energy efficiency of buildings while positively impacting the quality of the urban environment.
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» Building Energy Codes

» Roof Product Rating Programs

» Green Building and Sustainability Standards

» Voluntary Green Building Programs

Additional Reading

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