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GSA Releases Initial Report on Green Building Certification Systems

Certification guidelines help make federal buildings more cost effective and energy efficient

May 3, 2012

WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. General Services Administration released its review of the Green Building Certification Systems. This initial report is the first step in an extensive review process -- including a public comment period – that evaluates tools that could help federal agencies meet their goals for maintaining and constructing more sustainable and efficient buildings. When completed, the use of updated building certification systems will help GSA’s customer agencies meet federal requirements for green construction, save taxpayer dollars and meet the goals of President Obama’s Executive Order on Federal Leadership in Environmental, Energy, and Economic Performance (EO 13514).

The U.S. government owns and leases nearly 3.4 billion square feet of real estate and is the largest consumer of energy in the United States. The U.S. General Services Administration oversees the leasing and construction of over 9,600 buildings in the federal government building portfolio, and every five years, the agency is required to review building certification systems for the entire government under the Energy Independence Security Act. In this most recent review, more than 180 green building certification systems, tools, and standards were initially screened by an independent laboratory to determine which were most applicable for construction of new buildings, major renovations, and upgrades to existing facilities.

After the most recent evaluation of green building certification systems in April, GSA successfully narrowed the field by selecting systems that employed whole building evaluations, are available within the US market, and have third party certifications.

Three certification systems passed the screening criteria: Green Building Initiative's Green Globes, U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), and the International Living Building Challenge. The initial findings from GSA revealed that none of the three building certification systems cover 100% of the Federal building requirements for new construction, major renovations, or existing buildings.

GSA will hold public listening sessions for members of the public to provide feedback on its review and convene an interagency review group to evaluate and make recommendations on how to guide government construction towards meeting the goals of President Obama’s sustainability executive order. The inter agency task is co-chaired by GSA, the Department of Energy and the Department of Defense. Agencies with large portfolio holdings such as the Department of State, National Park Service, Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Forest Service have also been invited to take part.

The review group’s findings will be shared through a notice-and-comment period advertised in the Federal Register. Following public comment, GSA, DOD, and DOE will develop formal recommendations on how green building certification systems will be used to facilitate high performance in the federal sector. GSA expects to make its final recommendation to the Secretary of Energy in Fall of 2012.

For more information, visit: /gbcertificationreview.

Green Building Certification Systems

GSA is a centralized, federal procurement, property management, policy development and information provision agency, created by Congress to improve government efficiency and help federal agencies better serve the public. In this role, GSA acquires products and services on behalf of federal agencies; plays a key role in developing and implementing governmentwide policies; provides services and solutions for the office operations of more than 1 million federal workers; and encourages a citizen-centric relationship with government by providing a single "point of entry" to the information and services citizens need in a timeframe they can appreciate.


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