WIT Press

An Evaluation Of Existing Environmental Buildings’ Rating Systems And Suggested Sustainable Material Selection Assessment Criteria


Free (open access)





Page Range

111 - 122




1,057 kb

Paper DOI



WIT Press


H. M. Alhumaidi


Environmental ranking systems for buildings’ sustainability and green design are widely used all around the world. Ranking systems are used as planning guidelines to implement sustainability into buildings in the design stage. Although sustainability ranking systems may have their pitfalls, these systems have shed the light on sustainability and has led to businesses investing in green design. Many rating systems are available to assess buildings in terms of sustainability, where a set of criteria are assessed using a quantitative approach and a score is provided, the question that arises is are these systems reliable? Different rating systems are available, among these systems are Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) in the USA, Building Research Establishment’s Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM) in the United Kingdom, Comprehensive Assessment System for Building Environmental Efficiency (CASBEE) that has been developed for the Japanese market, Green Globes that has been implemented in Canada, Sustainable Building Tool (SBTool) as an international toolkit and framework for rating the sustainable performance of buildings and projects. All rating systems are designed towards assessment of the building impact on the environment. All assessment methods have limitations which questions the usefulness of these methods and advocates the need for a better sustainability assessment system. This paper is an attempt to highlight the pitfalls of current environmental ranking systems and to raise awareness towards the need for a system which addresses sustainable material and system selection in project planning stage individually rather than assessment of the building in terms of sustainability as a whole. Suggested criteria for an effective sustainable system evaluation tool include (1) resource management, (2) cost efficiency, (3) technical aspects, (4) environmental impact, and (5) design for human. Multi criteria decision making tools is suggested as an evaluation criteria for different sustainable materials and systems.


building sustainability, critique of environmental rating systems, criteria for sustainable material selection