Helping building owners optimize their buildings with ease
Python, Django, React, Alpine, HTMX, Wordpress
2019 - Present

The Green Building Initiative (GBI) is an international nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the build environment's impact on climate and society. Empathy has a long history working with the GBI, starting with the creation of their next generation Green Globes assessment tool back in 2017.

Over the years, we've worked with the GBI to help the organization launch their powerful assessment tools quicker, improve their customer experience, offer rich training and education experiences, and understand their business data more effectively. In 2019, we were tasked with helping the company build a next-generation customer management portal - a a single, cohesive system, allowing users to manage all their projects and buildings from one central place.

The Challenge

Working with the GBI, we identified several areas that could benefit from improvement. Customers needed to use different tools to access various assessment products. We wanted to build a unified tool that could work with all of GBI's assessment products and simplify the process of collaborating on projects, billing, and assessing buildings from the planning stage through to operation. GBI was also frustrated by the all-in-one nature of their existing platform, which meant that any change to their company website or education content would require development interaction and prevented them from using the tools they wished to use.

We identified several key challenges:

  1. Fragmented Tools Users had projects across several different tools that did not communicate with each other. Each tool required a separate username, password, and account, complicating access and management.
  2. Disjointed User Experience Navigating multiple interfaces and learning different user operations for each tool was cumbersome and time-consuming for users.
  3. Difficulty in Project Sharing Sharing access to projects was challenging due to the separation of projects across multiple websites, making it hard to keep track of all activities.
  4. Complex Re-certification Process Re-certifying buildings or switching between assessment tools was difficult, requiring users to create new entries in different tools.

The Solution

Empathy Works developed a Unified Building Management Platform that addressed these challenges by:

  1. Single Sign-On (SSO): We implemented a single login system that allowed users to access all their projects and buildings with one set of credentials. This eliminated the need to remember multiple usernames and passwords.
  2. Centralized Project Management: We consolidated data from all existing tools, providing a single interface for users to view and manage all their buildings and assessments at a glance.
  3. Standardized User Interface: We designed a standardized, user-friendly interface that worked across all assessment products, simplifying navigation and enhancing the user experience.
  4. Enhanced Access Control: The unified system made it easier for users to share access to projects, improving collaboration and project management.
  5. Streamlined Re-certification: The platform facilitated easier re-certification of buildings by centralizing all data, allowing users to manage their re-certifications and switch between assessment tools seamlessly.

Building a home for all of GBI's products

We designed a solution that would allow GBI to decouple their company website, customer portal, and education and training experiences, while allowing for seamless integration between the three. We helped GBI launch a WordPress-powered customer website, a LearnDash-powered LMS that integrated tightly into their custom, Django-based customer portal.

GBI has operated for over 20 years, and has offered a number of assessment tools running on different platforms. We wanted to build a unified home that give GBI's customers a single account from which they could access all of their projects, regardless of the tool it was built on. This was one of the most interesting challenges of the project, as it required us to design a system that would work with a number of legacy products and plan for GBI's future needs.

One of the biggest challenges was finding a way to unify all the user and project data from the numerous separate customer portal tools they had used in the past. We even needed to reverse-engineer the authentication encryption from GBI's legacy assessment tools so users could safely log in to their new GBI account without having to reset their old passwords!

We built a visual project directory that allowed clients to keep track of all of their projects in three different visual layouts - card view, map view, and table view.

We added powerful filtering, sorting, and grouping capabilities to make it easy for clients to group projects together and perform bulk actions on them. Many of GBI's clients find value in doing assessments across all the buildings in their organization, so we made it easy for clients to import dozens of projects at once and to use an existing project as a template for future projects. The permission management system we built allows for users to be granted access to individual projects or an entire portfolio, and permissions are pushed across all of the assessment tools as needed. Batch reports allow clients to see how their entire portfolio is performing and narrow down areas for improvement.

As we got closer to the launch date, we worked with GBI to build a number of data importing tools that would retrieve, clean up, and insert this data into the new customer portal. It was a huge relief to see this work pay off over the course of the two-day launch window.

The Outcome

The implementation of the Unified Building Management Platform resulted in significant improvements:

  • Streamlined Operations Users could now manage all their buildings and assessments from a single platform, reducing complexity and saving time.
  • Improved User Experience The intuitive interface and single login system made it easier for users to complete tasks, leading to higher user satisfaction and engagement.
  • Enhanced Data Accessibility Centralizing data allowed users to quickly access and analyze information across all projects, facilitating better decision-making.
  • Simplified Learning Curve With a standardized UI, users could easily navigate and utilize new assessment tools without needing to learn different interfaces.
  • Efficient Re-certification The platform made re-certifying buildings and managing ongoing assessments much simpler, improving overall efficiency.


By developing a Unified Building Management Platform, Empathy Works enabled our client to provide a seamless, efficient, and user-friendly solution for managing buildings and assessments. This case study highlights our commitment to creating innovative solutions that drive meaningful improvements for our clients.

We continue working with GBI to help them deliver next-generation assessment services, customer experiences, and training tools. We are especially proud of the work that we have done in making their customer portal flexible enough to support multiple assessment products, and look forward to the launch of their all new, next-generation net-zero assessment tool in mid-2024.