What is the Green Building Certification System? What is Federal government’s role in using sound science and peer-reviewed studies to evaluate and implement advanced building technologies?
Congress has set statutory goals for improvements in performance – from reducing energy and water intensity across the Federal government’s real property inventory relative pursuing net-zero energy buildings…. but is any project truly being made?
Executive Orders in two successive Administrations also have been issued to accomplish sustainability targets, but is anything truly being done in a productive manner?
The GSA is chartered to lead high performance building efforts including Congressionally-mandated review of green building certification systems.
As the GSA’s success is measured in how well it aids other agencies in their effectiveness, it must address all core aspects of sustainability initiatives including: efficient project delivery methods (integrated project delivery – IPD and job order contracting – JOC), capital planning and management, and the disposal of Federal assets.
Congress created the Office of Federal High Performance Green Buildings – OFHPGB (Chartered in December 2007 under Section 436 of the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) ) to enable and enhance Federal leadership in the field of large scale sustainable real property portfolio policy, management and operations.
Goals established in 2007 include:
Energy managers to complete annual comprehensive energy and water evaluations for approximately 25 percent of covered facilities, with each facility evaluated at least once every 4 years;
30 percent of hot water demand in new Federal buildings and major renovations be met with solar hot water equipment provided it is life-cycle cost effective;
Agencies use energy-efficient lighting fixtures and bulbs in Federal buildings;
Sustainable design principles to be applied to new Federal buildings and major renovations of Federal buildings;
Aggressive fossil fuel-generated energy reductions for new Federal buildings and major renovations of Federal buildings, phased-in through 2030, and
Agencies reduce total energy consumption per gross square foot in their new and existing Federal buildings by 30 percent from a FY2003 baseline by FY2015.
In 2009, the President signed Executive Order 13514 – Federal Leadership in Environmental, Energy, and Economic Performance which added the following:
Reduce potable water intensity by 26 percent in FY2020 compared to FY2007;
Reduce industrial, landscaping, and agricultural water use 2 percent annually, leading to a 20 percent reduction by FY2020 compared to FY2010;
Ensure all new Federal buildings entering the design phase in 2020 or later be designed to achieve net zero energy by 2030, and
Have at least 15 percent of existing buildings and leases meet the Guiding Principles for Federal Leadership in High Performance and Sustainable Buildings by 2015 with continued progress towards 100 percent.
To this date one might argue that little has been done. For example the GSA and most, if not all other Federal Government non-DOD Departement and Agencies don’t even have a standardized job order contracting (JOC) program to enable efficient implementation of sustainability projects.
The DOD however, especially the Air Force has full documented and working JOC programs (called SABER in the Air Force), and the Army has made some progress as well.
Thus in summary, the GSA is still in the mode of “Putting the tools together”, to allow the Federal government to make strides in achieving the aggressive performance goals set by Congress and pursued by the Administration.
The question however is, do we have the time to wait?