SPI Green Firm Certification: Protecting Owner Investment in Green Buildings & Operations

More property owners are committing to sustainable facilities, both in construction and ongoing operations. These owners rely on the knowledge and expertise of outside professional service providers to achieve their goals, but have a difficult time knowing who is truly qualified.

The LEED AP credential can provide some level of information about an individual’s familiarity with LEED, but not about the capability of the entire firm, which can be inconsistent and unreliable. Organizational effectiveness of the companies delivering green building services can impact the capital and operating costs of a green project by more than 40%. The first step in controlling costs is by working with companies who truly understand and deliver green design.

Sustainable Performance Institute (SPI) Certification was created to provide the quality control and metrics at an organizational level that tells an owner how committed a firm truly is and how effectively they’ve translated that commitment into reliable capability.

SPI evaluates the ability of architecture, engineering and construction firms to deliver a consistent, high quality sustainability service. Similar to ISO, SPI measures company-wide capability, ensuring to property owners that the knowledge, skills, systems, processes and tools needed to deliver cost-effective sustainable design are fully integrated into all aspects of the company’s services. Property owners are including SPI’s Certification as a preferred credential in Requests for Proposals (similarly to using LEED) and believe it is a credential that provides more quality control clarity about who they are hiring to help them achieve their sustainability goals (see owner endorsements below).

The SPI framework is structured around the 5 key areas of performance

Leadership, Strategy & Policy

Is the commitment to sustainability visible from company leaders and does that translated to expectations and accountability for all staff ?

Project Delivery

Are sustainability strategies a core competency, fundamentally integrated into the basic approach to every project and throughout all aspects of project management?


Do internal and external relationship create conditions conducive to delivering consistent, high quality sustainability services; from contracts to deliverables?

Support & Infrastructure

Does every staff member have the tools, resources and professional development support necessary to ensure consistent application on every project?

Outcomes & Metrics

Does the company have initiatives to reduce its’ environmental footprint and does it track project performance as a way of continuously learning how to improve?

See our detailed list of SPI Evaluation Criteria.

Read owner endorsements of the SPI Certification program as a credential.

See what firms are Certified.