GSA Issues Recommendations on Green Building Certifications

WASHINGTON — The U.S General Services Administration (GSA) has issued a recommendation to the Department of Energy (DOE) to expand the use of third-party green building certification systems.

In its recommendation, which was issued to Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz on Oct. 25, the GSA said the U.S Green Building Council’s LEED rating system or the Green Buildings Initiative’s Green Globes certification system should be used to gauge the sustainable performance of the federal government’s construction and renovation projects. This is the GSA’s first recommendation to include the Green Globes rating system.

“GSA has opened this review to an extensive public process and we’ve made this recommendation using input from the public, industry stakeholders and sustainability experts,” said Kevin Kampschroer, director of the GSA’s Office of Federal High-Performance Buildings, in a statement. “We’ve found two tools that allow us to measure how federal buildings of all kinds can best save energy, improve overall performance and cut down utility costs.”

Specifically, the GSA recommended that the federal government use the LEED 2009 system or the Green Globes 2010 system. Other certification programs did not align with the government’s requirements, according to the GSA. If pursuing LEED, the GSA said agencies should seek LEED Silver certification while agencies pursuing Green Globes are recommended to pursue at least two Green Globes.

The recommendation also stated that agencies should set a minimum goal of one Green Globe or LEED certification. However, agencies should attempt to achieve as many points possible for water and energy conservation.

“This should not dissuade agencies from earning a higher certification level from either green building certification system if the agency deems such pursuit to be cost effective or necessary to allow the agency to continue its mission,” the recommendation said.

Overall, the GSA issued six recommendations to the DOE. These recommendations stated that the GSA should establish a process to keep current with the green building rating systems and the federal government should participate in the ongoing development of green building rating systems.

The GSA is required by law under the Energy and Security Independence Act to issue a recommendation every five years in order to identify how to best use certification systems to measure design and performance of federal government buildings.