The GBCI rating systems explained

Sarah Stanley

GBCI is the premier global organization for independently recognizing excellence in sustainability performance and practice. With regional offices in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Europe, India and China, GBCI is accelerating the adoption of green business practices through an array of certification and professional credentialing programs.

With LEED at its core, GBCI offers a suite of complementary solutions for companies to implement sustainability practices across all levels of business. These programs foster global competitiveness and enhance the environmental and human health benefits of our built environment.

Here's a rundown of all the rating systems:

Sustainable SITES Initiative (SITES)

SITES is a comprehensive program for designing and maintaining sustainable landscapes. Land is a crucial part of the built environment, and SITES fills a need for best practices that

  • Reduce water demand and energy consumption.
  • Improve air quality.
  • Create resilient communities that can withstand and recover from catastrophic events.

Landscape professionals can also demonstrate their expertise and commitment to the profession by becoming a SITES AP—a credential that defines the profession of sustainable landscape design and development.

Read about SITES projects in action and register a project.

Total Resource Use and Efficiency (TRUE)

The TRUE Zero Waste certification helps businesses and facilities achieve zero waste goals by becoming more resource-efficient and environmentally responsible. Changing how materials flow through society, TRUE ensures that all products are eventually reused and diverted, instead of ending up in the landfill. By closing the loop on waste, facilities can cut greenhouse gas emissions, manage risk, reinvest resources, create jobs and add more value to the business.

GBCI also offers an opportunity to become a recognized zero waste professional through the TRUE Advisor program. TRUE Advisors are trained on the TRUE Zero Waste Rating System and help projects achieve TRUE certification.

Read about TRUE projects in action and register a project.


Parksmart advances sustainable mobility through smarter siting, design and operations of parking structures. The certification program recognizes high-performing, sustainable garages and provides a road map for implementing strategies that help both new and existing facilites to

  • Reduce operational costs up to 25 percent.
  • Reduce energy consumption.
  • Maximize performance.
  • Minimize waste and harmful emissions.
  • Encourage sustainable transportation, such as ride-sharing and bicycling.

Parksmart projects can also use Arc to benchmark and track building and portfolio performance.

Professionals who are well versed in strategies to reduce the energy and environmental footprint of parking facilities can be recognized through the Parksmart Advisor program.

Read about Parksmart projects in action and register your project at

Performance Excellence in Electricity Renewal (PEER)

PEER is the nation’s first rating system to measure and improve power system performance and electricity delivery. It is designed to improve grid resilience, create greater efficiencies in energy use, reduce carbon and minimize risks caused by poor energy reliability and poor power quality.

From hospitals to municipalities, PEER is transforming the complex power and energy sectors.

Learn more about PEER and register a project.

Investor Confidence Project (ICP)

ICP is a global underwriting standard for developing and measuring energy efficiency retrofits for commercial and multifamily residential buildings. Through its Investor Ready Energy Efficiency (IREE) certification, ICP aims to standardize energy efficiency upgrades through best practices that make projects more attractive to investors and building owners. These protocols lower transaction costs and increase confidence in savings.

The program was developed by the Environmental Defense Fund and is available in the U.S., Canada and Europe.

Explore IREE certification.


GRESB is an investor-driven organization committed to assessing the environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance of real assets globally. GRESB gives real asset investors tools to monitor and manage the ESG performance of their investments and to prepare for increasingly rigorous sustainability issues at the forefront of business decision-making.

By participating, companies and funds are able to better manage portfolios, funds and assets in the face of more volatile energy prices, stricter legislation to combat climate change, increased energy efficiency requirements and changing preferences of corporate tenants.

Explore GRESB data and join to improve ESG management and reporting.


EDGE is a certification system for residential and commercial buildings that enables design teams and project owners to find the most cost-effective ways to achieve energy and water savings. EDGE includes a web-based software application, a universal standard and a certification system.

Working specifically in emerging markets, EDGE complements other green building rating systems by providing a quantifiable business case that resonates with sectors of the market that have been slow to change.

Explore EDGE certification.

The WELL Building Standard (WELL)

Created by the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI), WELL is a performance-based system for measuring building features that impact human well-being. It aims to improve the way people live by furthering spaces that enhance occupant health and quality of life.

Building and design professionals dedicated to human-centric principles can be recognized by becoming a WELL AP. The credential denotes expertise in the WELL Building Standard and a commitment to advancing human health and wellness in buildings and communities.

Explore the certification and register a project.

Accessibility Tools