Green certifications and labels in commercial construction: navigating the landscape in 2023

Green certifications and labels in commercial construction: navigating the landscape in 2023

In recent years, the construction industry has seen a considerable change toward more environmentally responsible practices and more emphasis on sustainable practices. As commercial developers and stakeholders become increasingly conscious of their ecological footprint, the demand for green certifications and labels in construction projects has soared.  

These certifications demonstrate a commitment to environmental stewardship and offer various benefits, including enhanced building performance, increased property value, and positive contributions to the community. 

Green certifications and their benefits 

Green certifications are pivotal in ensuring commercial buildings are constructed and operate sustainably. These certifications award projects that meet specific environmental criteria and adhere to green building practices.  

In 2023, LEED, BREEAM, Green Globes, and ENERGY STAR are some of the most well-known green badges and marks. Each certification has its unique focus—aiming to promote resource efficiency, minimize environmental impact, and create healthier indoor environments. 

The advantages of obtaining green certifications extend far beyond environmental considerations. Businesses and property owners experience benefits when property values rise in marketability. Operating costs decrease, and sustainable construction techniques result in buildings that consume energy—reducing electricity bills and minimizing their environmental impact. Moreover, green certifications demonstrate a company's commitment to corporate social responsibility, attracting environmentally conscious clients and investors. 

Challenges and opportunities in implementing green certifications 

While the benefits of green certifications are clear, some challenges must be addressed for broader adoption. The cost considerations associated with sustainable materials and green certification processes can be perceived as barriers for some developers. But it's important to know that the long-term benefits, like saving money on energy and making your business more marketable, often outweigh the original expense. 

Regulatory and compliance challenges must also be navigated as building codes and environmental regulations evolve. Developers and stakeholders must remain updated with the latest requirements and integrate green certifications into their construction process seamlessly.  

Additionally, consumer demand plays a crucial role in driving the adoption of green certifications and sustainable building practices. As clients and tenants become more environmentally conscious, they place higher value on properties with green credentials. This pressures developers and owners to pursue green certifications that meet consumer preferences. 

Education about the benefits of sustainable features and green building materials is critical to raising awareness and nurturing this consumer demand. When customers understand concepts like embodied carbon and the total impact of construction materials on the environment, they are more inclined to seek sustainable options. 

For example, durable access doors, like the BA-PAC Removable Plastic Access Door, can help reduce environmental impact over their whole lifecycle, preventing the need to produce new ones frequently. Sustainable building materials demonstrate to consumers how green certifications can be achieved through practical, innovative solutions that can seamlessly integrate into any construction project. As awareness around these options spreads, consumer preferences will continue propelling the green certification landscape forward. 

The rise of health and well-being certifications 

Along with traditional environmental certifications, health and well-being certifications are gaining prominence in commercial construction. With people spending up to 90% of their time indoors, building design affects occupants’ health in numerous ways. 

Certifications like Fitwel, WELL, and Living Building Challenge focus on air quality, access to nature, daylighting, ergonomics, and toxic material reduction to create indoor environments that promote occupant health, comfort, and productivity. This leads to benefits like lower sick leaves, higher worker retention, and increased revenue for businesses. 

As health, safety, and indoor air quality concerns rise post-COVID, more developers are looking to implement features that meet these certifications’ criteria. Integrating features like ample daylight, plants, and biophilic design can qualify projects for these health-centered labels. 

The future of green certifications and labels 

Green certifications will continue to evolve and raise the bar for sustainable building practices. Ranging from the incorporation of circular economy principles to a greater focus on climate resilience, upcoming certifications are set to drive even higher levels of sustainability in commercial construction. 

Material transparency and traceability will become more critical to assessing buildings' true environmental footprint. Certifications may also incorporate metrics accounting for embodied carbon and whole lifecycle impacts. 

Technological innovations in building materials, energy efficiency, and IoT will enable greener and smarter buildings. As a result, future certifications are likely to integrate criteria that reward adopting these emerging technologies. 

Despite changes in specific metrics and criteria, the overarching goals of green certifications remain the same—to minimize environmental impacts, maximize resource efficiency and create healthier spaces that enhance human well-being. 


As the green certification landscape continues to evolve, one thing remains clear—the need for more sustainable practices in commercial construction has never been greater. Rising concerns about climate change, resource scarcity, and human health have made green certifications a business necessity, not just a nice-to-have. 

Adopting green certifications in 2023 and beyond presents challenges and opportunities for builders, developers, and business owners. Meeting increasingly stringent criteria will require commitment, innovation, and investment. But those who navigate this transition successfully will reap considerable rewards—from lower operating costs and enhanced property values to a stronger brand identity and competitive advantage. 

Green certifications act as roadmaps to guide the industry toward this progressive vision—one where buildings work harmoniously with the environment instead of against it. Although the journey may be long, every step forward makes a difference. If more commercial projects embrace green building practices wholeheartedly, we can collectively raise the bar for what construction truly means in the 21st century. The time for change is now. Let’s build a greener, healthier future together. 

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Chris Jackson

Business Development Manage