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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.

On October 25, 2013, GSA submitted its recommendation to the Secretary of Energy.  After an open and collaborative evaluation process spanning several years, and allowing for agency, public, and private sector input, GSA recommends 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 also submitted other recommendations putting forth ideas on how the government should stay involved with green building certification systems as they evolve over time.

As part of the review process, GSA convened key federal portfolio holders to discuss the role of green building certification systems in advancing high performance in the federal real estate portfolio. An Interagency ad-hoc review group, co-chaired by GSA, the Department of Energy and the Department of Defense developed findings taking into account the following:

  • GSA's Green Building Certification System review report evaluating green building certification systems
  • Interrelationships among green building certification systems and recently promulgated green building standards (i.e. ASHRAE 189.1 and the IGCC)
  • Federal high performance building design, construction and operations requirements
  • Metrics to inform building performance tracking and reporting
  • Consideration of cost effectiveness: how high performance in buildings can reduce the total cost of ownership

GSA held public listening sessions to solicit verbal and written feedback from stakeholders as the review group considered the topics outlined above.  In addition, GSA held a 60-day public comment period soliciting comments to key findings from the Interagency ad-hoc review group. 

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

Green Building Certification System Review

Green Building Certification System Review Appendices

Green Building Certification System Supplemental Information

Co-Chair Memorandum on Green Building Certification Systems

Executive Summary of GBCS Comments

GSA Green Building Certification Systems Review Letter to Sec Energy

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