In the last several years, "green building" has gone mainstream. As interest has grown, so have attempts to provide definitions and guidance.
Various organizations, ranging from for-profit companies, industry and non-profit associations to city and state governments, have created ratings, standards and evaluation tools that building owners, designers, engineers, builders and contractors can use to create buildings that truly are "green" and that lessen their impact on the environment.
As of early 2009, there were several widely-used rating systems in the U.S. and Canada:
Many states have their own green building programs, including Florida, Washington, California, Pennsylvania, and others.
As do many municipalities (Searchable database here.)
Green building rating systems are continuing to evolve. Each has its shortcomings and its critics. When involved in any green building project, it is important to know and understand which system, or systems, are being used to evaluate the design, implementation and operation of the building.