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Green Building Certification System Review

Section 436(h) of the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) requires GSA to evaluate green building certification systems every five years to identify a system and certification level “deem(ed) to be most likely to encourage a comprehensive and environmentally sound approach to certification of green buildings.” EISA directs the Director of GSA’s Office of Federal High-Performance Green Buildings to provide the findings to the Secretary of Energy who, in consultation with the Department of Defense and GSA, formally identifies the system(s) to be used across the federal government. Two reviews have been completed: 2006 and 2012. Both of these studies focused on green building certification systems available for use in the U.S. commercial building market.

After an open and collaborative evaluation process spanning several years, and allowing for agency, public, and private sector input, GSA recommended in October 2013 that agencies use one of two green building certification systems that best suit agency missions and portfolio needs: the Green Building Initiative’s Green Globes® (2010) and the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design® (2009). GSA submitted additional recommendations on how the government should stay involved with green building certification systems as they evolve over time.

To stay current with the evolution of the green building certification system marketplace, GSA completed a supplemental review of the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED v4 in 2014 to determine its alignment with Federal green building requirements contained in statute and Executive Order. GSA is using this evaluation to consult with other landholding Federal agencies on the applicability of LEED v4 to assess agency achievement of sustainable design principles and meet green building requirements. 

On January 21, 2015, GSA published a request for information in the Federal Register (found here) seeking additional public input on its analysis of LEED v4 and several other questions related to the Government's use of LEED v4 and future GSA reviews of green building certification systems.  GSA is soliciting comments for 60 days, ending on March 23, 2015.  Comments may be submitted by one of the following methods:

  • View the Federal Register notice and provide comments online
  • Fax your comments to 202-501-4067
  • E-mail your comments to bryan.steverson@gsa.gov
  • Mail comments to General Services Administration, Regulatory Secretariat (MVCB), ATTN: Hada Flowers, 1800 F Street, NW Washington, DC 20405.

GSA is also holding an online public listening session on March 2, 2015 from 1-3 p.m. (eastern) to hear comments from key stakeholders.  More information on the public listening session can be found at: http://www.gsa.gov/portal/content/206591

Once the comment period closes, GSA will be using this input to augment its 2013 recommendation as it relates to LEED v4. 

Visit the links below to view documents associated with GSA’s green building certification system review.
 

2006

Name of Report Description
Sustainable Building Rating Systems Summary Completed by the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in July 2006, this GSA-commissioned study is the agency’s first review of the green building certification system marketplace.

2012

Name of Report Description
Green Building Certification System Review 2012 Report [PDF - 576.19 KB] and Appendices [PDF - 1.98 MB] Completed by the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in May 2012, this GSA-commissioned study is the agency’s second review of the green building certification system marketplace. This report conducts a deep dive analysis of the alignment of three green building certification systems (LEED, Green Globes, Living Building Challenge) with federal green building requirements.
Green Building Certification System 2012 Report Supplemental Information [PDF - 974.45 KB] This supplemental report contains additional analysis of ASHRAE Standard 189.1 (Standard for the Design of High-Performance Green Buildings except Low-Rise Residential Buildings), the Department of Veterans Affairs Guiding Principles Compliance Assessment Program, and GSA’s Sustainable Operations and Maintenance Program.
Co-Chair Memorandum on Green Building Certification Systems [PDF - 486.42 KB] This memorandum from the co-chairs of the EISA 436(h) Interagency Ad-hoc Discussion Group formalizes the key findings after several meetings to discuss the value and applicable use of green building certification systems. GSA, the Department of Energy, and the Department of Defense co-chair this interagency working group to consult on the federal government’s use of green building certification systems using GSA’s Green Building Certification System 2012 report as the basis of fact.
Executive Summary of GBCS Comments [PDF - 634.49 KB] This document contains a summary of comments received from GSA’s Federal Register notice from February 5, 2013 that sought public comment on the findings from the EISA 436(h) Interagency Ad-hoc Discussion Group.
GSA Green Building Certification Systems Review Letter to Sec Energy [PDF - 149.23 KB] The GSA Administrator’s letter to the Secretary of Energy that includes six recommendations on the federal government’s use of green building certification systems.

2014

Name of Report Description
Green Building Certification System: Supplemental Review of USGBC’s LEED v4 Report [PDF - 0.99 MB] and Appendices [PDF - 1.38 MB] GSA’s supplemental review of the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Version 4 (LEED v4) green building certification system and its alignment with federal green building requirements.

The shortcut to this page is www.gsa.gov/gbcertificationreview

 


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