Frequently-Asked Questions

  • What is the goal of SEED?

SEED’s goal is to provide a common standard to guide, evaluate and measure the social, economic and environmental impact of design projects.

  • How will getting SEED Certified benefit me?

Obtaining SEED Certification is the standard that community organizers, leaders, designers and funders alike can use to document their significant and valued achievements: It means that a project is recognized as having achieved levels of success within the qualitative and quantitative measures set forth within the SEED Evaluation Process revealing significant documented community participation in project decisions and measured results of the design product.

  • What does the term “triple bottom line” refer to?

Triple bottom line refers to a three-pillar concept of sustainability where social, economic and environmental achievements and impacts must be in alignment to best direct development that can be evaluated.

  • How can I best prepare for the application process?

The best way to prepare for the application process is to download the Word, or PDF document found on the Project Manager page and to look over the questions and answer them in that format before attempting the online version. This document can also be used from the beginning stages of a project to help organize the project as it goes through each of its stages through to, and after, completion.

  • Can multiple people work on the application?

Yes. A project lead is required for the application submission but project stakeholders are highly encouraged to participate in the process and can do so through Part I of the SEED Evaluator where email addresses for Partners and Stakeholders are requested.

  • What types of documents should I upload into the application?

Examples of relevant documentation may include user research, data collection content, results from public meetings and other community outreach, planning documents that reveal inclusivity in the process, photo documentation that shows how the project evolved in major phases of development and implementation.

  • Are there examples of performance measures and data collection techniques, and where can I find them on the website?

The SEED Dictionary is located on the SEED website and can be accessed from anywhere in the site. It provides definitions for key concepts and examples that prove useful in determining what is desired in a SEED Certification application.

  • The application makes reference to an “Reviewers’ Summary”. What is this and how is it used in the review process?

The Reviewers’ Summary is for reviewers’ use only. It houses truncated responses to SEED Evaluator questions provided by applicants and collects key words that provide an overview of the project which can be read quickly for essential aspects of the project. While it is used exclusively by SEED Reviewers, it is not the only document used. Instead it supplies a condensed report of the application useful for case study development and other applications.

  • Do I have to justify my project in all three categories of the triple bottom line-Social, Economic, and Environmental?

No. However, an aspect of the triple bottom line approach is to challenge a project to address all three areas of sustainability in an attempt to bring about positive change in the face of social, economic and environmental challenges. Should your project not deal with all areas however you can simply respond with an “n/a” indicator.

  • Do I have to demonstrate community participation in the project?

Yes. SEED is interested in how the design team directly engaged the client and other vested parties in the total project process so that the outcome is informed from the ground up. This concept reinforces SEED’s mission to advance the right of every person to live in a socially, economically and environmentally healthy community.

  • How should I respond to questions that do not apply to my project?

Respond with N/A.

  • Does my project have to be completed before I can start the application process?

No. A project application may be started while the project is in progress however the applicant should be aware that Part II of the SEED Evaluator application does request an assessment of project results for both early and post implementation. This may mean that the total application is not completed for several months or even years.

  • At what point in the application process will I receive feedback on the status of my application?

After Part I of the SEED Evaluator application is submitted your project be assigned reviewers based on project type and scope. It is at this point that the reviewers will assess the quality of the application to date and provide feedback as necessary to keep the application on track towards Part II submission for SEED Certification.

  • Who will be reviewing my project?

Project reviewers are selected from a team of internationally-selected third-party certifiers who are trained specialists in the specific design discipline and who understand the challenges of design in the public interest.

  • What are the reviewers looking for?

Reviewers are looking for quality of application materials, how clearly the project is referenced and described based on the questions presented in the SEED Evaluator. Submission of support narrative and documentation help the reviewers assess the depth of the project, what issues were addressed, how was involved and how, and how project goals were met and evaluated.

  • I don’t understand the reviewers’ comments. Can I talk directly to my reviewers?

SEED will facilitate a conversation with reviewers should the need arise. Let your reviewer know you are interested in a personal conversation.

  • How long will it take for my project to be reviewed?

Once a project is submitted (completed Parts I and II), it will take approximately three months for the review process to be completed. The applicant will be issued periodic status reports on review progress and should questions arise on behalf of the review team, the applicant will be notified.

  • How will I be notified of my project’s certification status?

The lead applicant will be sent an email and hard copy letter informing them of the final certification outcome and the conclusion of the review period or three months time, which ever happens first.

  • What if my project changes after our initial application? Does that mean the project won’t be certified?

Most projects do change as goals become reality. SEED embraces transparency and accountability, so making those changes clear as well as giving the reasons for them will also support a path towards certification. Applicants are allowed also to go back into the SEED Evaluator and make updates as needed to the submitted narrative and documentation.

  • What date should I set for assessing project final results (post implementation)?

That depends on the nature of the project. Some projects may achieve results relatively shortly after the design is executed. Other projects may address issues that require more implementation and, feedback and assessment time, such as job training, which can take can take years.