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?



Demand For Efficient Life-Cycle Building Management Processes – BIM, JOC, IPD – FIATECH PRESENTATION – 2012

Critical components of CONSTRUCTION PROJECT success include communication, collaboration, a defined mutually agreed upon operating relationship and an associated fully defined project scope of work…   all of which are largely determined by the construction delivery method.

A thorough understanding and visualization of a project among Owners,  Architects and Engineers,  Contractors, and other shareholders defines scope, specifications, and is is the  project delivery method that set the overall tone of interrelations ships among the project participants and shapes final outcomes.  Field specific variables, such as weather, on-going operations, soils conditions, security, safety, site lay-out, environment protections and other contexts must be considered as well as the means and methods of work execution. These and other variables impact the overall cost, timing, and ultimate success of the project.

Collaboration among all shareholders on the front end, and then throughout the project is the means by which multiple knowledge domains associated with a construction project are brought together to  allow for  visualizing the building the project prior to construction.  For example, estimating a job requires knowledge about about the impact that AE, context, and execution scope have on each unit, assembly, and system level cost.

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Construction management is a process!  Several exiting as well as newer, disruptive technologies are now enabling the cost-effective development, implementation, and monitoring of collaborative efficient construction management processes in lieu or traditional ad hoc procedures.  The later being largely responsible for the decades long declined in productivity within the construction sector throughout America.

While 0ur AECOO (architecture, engineering, construction, operations, owner) sector is resistant to change and relatively adverse to technology, the convergence of worldwide market drivers and the disruptive technologies that will change the very way we do business.  However, the issues of (check one, or more) global climate change, dwindling non-renewal energy supplies, and/or the altered economic landscape, are forcing greater efficiencies.  And, of course, buildings are a major consumer of petrochemical products… high energy users, and a primary source of green house gas and other emissions.  These drivers to reduce environmental impacts as well as improve productivity will force relatively dramatic change.

Relative to technology….  technology’s  role in one of supporting processes relative to faster implementation/deployment, and consistent/scalable use.  That said, cloud computing not only accomplishes the above more efficiently, but adds previously unattainable levels of collaboration and transparency.  A “FACEBOOK for Facilities Construction and Life-cycle Operations” is on the horizon.  Just think of the impacts that FACEBOOK and other social media had upon Egypt recently, and the power of cloud computing begins clearer.  The next aspect is of course BIM.  Once we get beyond the distraction of 3D visualization, BIM, combined with, deployed by, and practiced via cloud computing BIM will become a game changer.   BIM definition, from NIBS, and I paraphrase, is the life-cycle management of facilities supported by digital technology.  A glimpse of a strategic BIM framework (BIMF) from a process perspective is shown below.   The integration of these activities, associated competencies, business processes, and supporting technologies via cloud computing is the foundation of BIM.

Central to the discussion of AEC process change within the scope of this discussion also include:

-Construction Project Delivery Methods for NEW and EXISTING buildings, specifically Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) and Job Order Contracting (JOC) …, as noted above and below….
-Sustainability and the concept of High Performance Buildings
-Higher Level FM Processes – LEAN, TCO / Total Cost of Ownership / Life-cycle Management
-Standards (data formats, lexicon, taxonomies, interoperability, metrics vs. benchmarks)

Job order contracting, known and implemented as SABER in the Air Force, one example of IPD, or integrated project delivery developed over twenty years ago within the DOD sector.  It has only recently begun to be adopted and deployed in other sectors in an accelerated manor, including non-DOD federal government, state/county/&local governments, higher educations and large k-12 school districts, hospitals and clinics, as well as airports and transportation authorities.

As an  example of productivity improvements afforded by JOC.  What typically took over a year to accomplish in months or even weeks.  Furthermore quality is improve, change orders are reduced, and lawsuits are virtually eliminated.  A comparison of IPD/JOC and tradition delivery methods is shown below.

Thus, in summary, below is road map of where we have been, and where we are going.

A Step Closer to BIM? NIBS and AIA Working toward Centralized Building Information Resource

Let’s face it,  the virtually singularly low rate of productivity of the AECOO (architecture, engineering, construction, operations, owner) sector for the past several decades is due to our CULTURE.

As a group, we are kings of the “not invented here” syndrome… or the “my way is the better way” syndrome.  Also, the “let’s keep the Owner in the dark” or the “let’s not work together”, and the “bid low and make it up in change orders” , or “let’s accept the lowest bid and hope for the best” approaches to ruin.

As I’ve previously noted, the altered world economic and environmental landscapes will force CULTURAL change in our industry.  Architects, Engineers, and Contractors new motto will be “our best customer is a smart customer”.  Why?  It’s simple, collaboration and improved “cradle to cradle” facility life-cycle management approaches will be required for survival.  Furthermore, cloud computing and proven collaborative construction delivery methods such as Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) and “IPD-lite”, also known as Job Order Contracting, the latter for facility repair, renovation, sustainability and minor new construction, will converge to enable knowledge sharing among all facility stakeholders.

The signing of an agreement between The American Institute of Architects and the
National Institute of Building Sciences to Work Together on Promoting Building Industry Research and Knowledge
is just one indication of the our “changing AECOO landscape”.  It demonstrates the two organizations’ mutual interest in the design, construction, operations and maintenance of high-performance buildings and the desire… no better yet the recognized NEED TO COLLABORATE on issues surrounding these topics.

A primary initial goal of the “partnership” is the joint development of an on-line portal for building industry research and knowledge.   It’s amazing how many in our industry are not even aware of NIBS or Smart Building Alliance.  The march toward BIM, and recognizing its true potential as “efficient building life-cycle management support by technology and standardized processes, taxonomy, etc.” vs. “pretty 3D pictures” will know hopefully gain traction and momentum.

Building Information Management Framework - BIMF

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Cloud Computing and BIM – Article 2012 – TME

Cloud Computing and BIM - TME Article 2012


The increasingly competitive financial
and environmental landscape requires
public and private institutions to further
maximize facility planning and management.
Technologies such as Building Information
Modeling (BIM) and Cloud Computing
(Cloud) are disruptive technologies
converging to significantly alter traditional
construction and facility management
practices. Both technologies also embed
associated business process rules and
components that will enable enhanced
life-cycle management of the built environment,
alignment of structures with
organizational mission, and better consideration
of general community impacts.
Leading organizations already are investing
in the formalized definition and
creation of robust business process frameworks,
cultures, workflows and capabilities
to support collaboration, continuous
improvement and lean practices needed
to achieve higher productivity within the
architecture, engineering, construction,
owner and operator (AECOO) sector.
BIM and Cloud provide the digital
backbone to support the cost effective,
scalable development and deployment of
adaptive and efficient facility life-cycle
management practices.


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$4B for Improved Building Energy Efficiency – Obama’s Better Buildings Initiative – Perfect for Job Order Contracting – JOC

Efficient construction project delivery is needed to meet building efficiency targets.  While there have been several attempts to address sustainability and the built environment, the lack of efficient project delivery has impacted progress.

Job Order Contracting / JOC – is an efficient integrated project delivery methods that focuses upon collaboration and longer term relationships between Owners and Contracting, resulting in higher productivity and greater transparency.   It’s time that JOC be implemented Agency-wide throughout the Federal Sector.

President Obama’s Better Buildings Initiative is part of a vision for winning the future by catalyzing a homegrown, clean energy economy in the United States. The Better Buildings Initiative set a national target of improving energy efficiency in commercial buildings by 20 percent by 2020.

Job Order Contracting Process - Deployed via Technology

Achieving the President’s goal will reduce energy bills for American businesses by approximately $40 billion per year. Improving energy efficiency in our nation’s buildings can create good paying jobs in the construction industry.  The Political Economy Research Institute (PERI) at the University of Massachusetts Amherst supported by the Real Estate Roundtable and U.S. Green Buildings Council estimated a potential of 114,000 jobs associated with implementing the Better Buildings Initiative.

It is a trifecta, which is why you’ve got labor and business behind it. It could save our businesses up to $40 billion a year on their energy bills – money better spent growing and hiring new workers. It would boost manufacturing of energy-efficient materials. And when millions of construction workers have found themselves out of work since the housing bubble burst, it will put them back to work doing the work that America needs done. So this is an idea whose time has come. – President Obama

President Obama directed all Federal agencies to make at least $2 billion worth of energy efficiency upgrades over the next two months. Additionally, 60 private companies, hospitals, cities, states, colleges, and universities, among others, have collectively committed another $2 billion in energy efficiency retrofits to 1.6 billion square feet of property.

Goal of improving energy efficiency in commercial buildings by 20 percent by 2020. The initiative will reduce energy bills for businesses by $40 billion per year, and one report found it could create up to 114,000 jobs.
The Better Buildings Challenge is the public-private partnership component of President Obama’s Better Buildings Initiative. The Challenge seeks to catalyze private sector investment and has attracted business and community leaders who are committed to supporting innovative ideas with action, sharing their successes, and creating solutions for others to follow.  TheClinton Global Initiative (CGI) America, former President Clinton, Secretary Chu and Laura Tyson from the President’s Jobs Council announced an initial set of commitments totaling 300+ million square feet and $500+ million in financing support. The President announced commitments totaling 1.6 billion square feet and nearly $2 billion in financing support for building energy upgrades. This includes: Commitments from [60] Major CEOs, Universities, Mayors, Labor Leaders and Others – corporations, hospitals, financial institutions, cities and states, colleges and universities.

Data from the Department of Energy reveals a tremendous potential for efficiency investment opportunities in Federal buildings with less than 10-year paybacks. The Presidential Memorandum also directs Federal agencies to complete evaluations to identify specific energy conservation measures, including estimated cost and return on investment to prioritize and implement those energy conservation measures with the best payback, and to provide transparency and accountability through public reporting of results.

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The Benefits of BIM, Life-cycle Management, Sustainability and High Performance Buildings

In many ways BIM, Life-cycle facility management, sustainability, and high performance buildings are interchangeable terms… some of us just don’t know it yet.

BIM is the life-cycle management of facilities (vertical and horizontal built environment), support by digital technology.  Thus BIM is part process and part software.  Life-cycle management includes all physical and functional conditions of a structure (physical condition of major systems, sub-systems, components, functional conditions-suitability for current mission, life/safety/security, access/ADA, utilization, ….) and all associated strategic, capital, and tactical planning.  High performance building management and sustainability also includes these factors, with a focus upon environmental impacts-Sustainable Sites, Water Efficiency, Energy and Atmosphere, Materials and Resources, and Indoor Environmental Quality.

The benefits of BIM, Life-cycle management, sustainability, and high performance building strategies go well beyond financial considerations, though productivity and improved performance is sorely lacking within the AEC communities.

The following are just a few of the benefits of Sustainability and High Performance Buildings:

– Improved building occupant productivity ( studies indicate that approximatley $260B Billion lost annually due to poor indoor air quality-Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory).  Productivity gains have also been linked to factors such as day lighting (7-8%), temperature, ventilation,

–  Goodwill, enhanced image.

–  Reduce environmental impact / carbon footprint:  energy, water, waste, pollution (CO2 emissions, pesticides, fertilizers, …)

To put facility costs into perspective, here’s an example from the National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS).  Annual costs in the private office building sector average $200 per square foot for salaries, $20 per square foot for building costs, and $2 per square foot for energy use – a 100:10:1 ratio.   It is therefore relatively easy to calculate direct cost savings relative to productivity and energy improvements.

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Fram,ework for High Performanc Building Managment, BIM, and Sustainability




Source: Quantifying the Hidden Benefits of High-Performance Building, TAMU Mays Business School Cooperative Study, December 2011

Bryson York, Emily. (2010, August 28). Goodwill, better business grow from going green.
U.S. Green building Counsel. (2010). LEED for New Construction.
Kats, Greg. (2003). The Costs and Financial Benefits of Green Building.
Kats, Gregory.(2006). Greening America’s Schools Costs and Benefits.
Beko, Gabriel, Geo Clausen, & Charles J. Weschler. (2008, October). Is the use of particle air filtration justified? Costs
and benefits of filtration with regard to health effects, building cleaning and occupant productivity. Building and
Environment, 43(10), 1647-1657.
Hepner, Christina M. & Richard A. Boser. (2006, December). Architects’ Perceptions of LEED Indoor
Environmental Quality Checklist Items on Employee Productivity. International Journal of Construction Education and
Research, 2(3), 193-208.
NSF/IUCRC Center for Building performance and Diagnostics at Carnegie Mellon University. Mixed Mode Conditioning Systems.
NSF/IUCRC Center for Building performance and Diagnostics at Carnegie Mellon University. High Performance Lighting.
U.S. Green building Counsel. (2009). LEED® for Retail.
Gardner, Ken. (2010). Overcoming Barriers to Green Building.
Miller, Norm & Dave Pogue. (2009). Do Green Buildings Make Dollars and Sense?
WBDG Sustainable Committee. (2010). Sustainable.
Romm, Joesph & William Browning. (1997). Green Building and the Bottom Line.
Issa, M.H., J.H. Rankin, & A.J. Christian. (2010, January). Canadian practitioners’ perception of
research work investigating the cost premiums, long-term costs and health and productivity benefits
of green buildings. Building and Environment, 45(2010), 1698-1711.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Hepner, Christina M. & Richard A. Boser. (2006, December). Architects’ Perceptions of LEED Indoor Environmental Quality Checklist Items on Employee Productivity. International Journal of Construction Education and Research, 2(3), 193-208.
Hepner, Christina M. & Richard A. Boser. (2006, December). Architects’ Perceptions of LEED Indoor
Environmental Quality Checklist Items on Employee Productivity. International Journal of Construction Education and
Research, 2(3), 193-208.
NSF/IUCRC Center for Building performance and Diagnostics at Carnegie Mellon University. Daylighting.
Hoffman, Andrew & Rebecca Henn. (2008). Overcoming the Social and Psychological Barriers to Green Building.
Kats, Greg. (2003). The Costs and Financial Benefits of Green Building.
Romm, Joesph & William Browning. (1997). Green Building and the Bottom Line.
Fisk, William J. (2000). Health and Productivity Gains from Better Indoor Environments and Their
Relationship with Building Energy Efficiency.
NSF/IUCRC Center for Building performance and Diagnostics at Carnegie Mellon University. Daylighting.
NSF/IUCRC Center for Building performance and Diagnostics at Carnegie Mellon University. High Performance Lighting.
Gregerson, John. (2010). The Thermal Comfort Zone.
Gregerson, John. (2010). The Thermal Comfort Zone.
Fisk, William J. (2000). Health and Productivity Gains from Better Indoor Environments and Their Relationship with Building
Energy Efficiency.
NSF/IUCRC Center for Building performance and Diagnostics at Carnegie Mellon University. Mixed Mode Conditioning Systems.
International Society of Sustainability Professionals
Fisk, William J. (2002). How IEQ Affects Health, Productivity.
Fisk, William J. (2002). How IEQ Affects Health, Productivity.
Kats, Greg. (2003). The Costs and Financial Benefits of Green Building.
Kats, Greg. (2003). The Costs and Financial Benefits of Green Building.
Kats, Greg. (2003). The Costs and Financial Benefits of Green Building.
Lipow, Gar W. Cooling It: No Hair Shirt Solutions to Global Warming.
Cascio, Wayne and John Boudreau. (2008). Investing in People. (p. 195-215). Pearson Education, Inc.

Sustainabile Landscapes for Public Institutions – DOD, Higher Education, Federal/State/Local Government

Sustainable Landscapes = Ongoing Cost Reductions, Environmental Responsibility, & Safety

Sustainable landscapes are central to ongoing site cost reductions, environmental responsibly, and meeting anti-terrorism standards.

To see current work in this area visit – .

Sustainable Landscape Design



Benefits of these newer approaches include:

– Reduction in Landscape Maintenance Costs
– Improved Safety/Security
– Use of Native Plants
– Reduction of Chemical and Mechanical Inputs
– Invasive Plant Species Mitigation
– Enhanced Landscape Appearance
– Improved Ecological Functioning of Landscape
– Compliance with Anti-Terrorism Standards

New International Green Construction Code (IgCC) – 2012 International Green Construction Code (IgCC) Complete

The Green Construction Code applies  design, construction,renovation, repair,  change of occupancy, movement, enlargement, replacement,equipment, location, maintenance, removal and demolition of every building or or any appurtenances connected or attached to such buildings and to the site on which located.

Areas affected include:

Building, Fuel Gas, Mechanical, Plumbing, Property maintenance , Fire prevention, Energy, Wildland-urban interface, Performance, Existing buildings, and Zoning.




Integrated Project Delivery / IPD, Job Order Contracting / JOC , Simplified Acquisition Base Engineering Requirements. / SABER.. Central to Achieiving Sustainability and High Performance Buildings

IPD, SABER and JOC for High Performance Buildings

1. Buildings account for almost 40 percent of primary energy use in the United States, 12 percent of total water use, and 60 percent of all non-industrial waste. Indoor environmental quality of buildings affects the health, safety, and productivity of the people who occupy them.

2. The U.S. federal government has the opportunity, and the responsibility, to significantly improve the performance of its buildings and to lead the way for other large organizations to do the same. The Federal government owns or leases 429,000 buildings worldwide, containing 3.34 billion square feet of space.

3. JOC and SABER programs can play a very important role retrofitting existing buildings to achieve higher performance levels, while IPD provides more efficient project delivery for major new construction.

IPD, JOC, and SABER are  efficient construction delivery methods capable of delivering significantly  higher productivity and greater transparency vs. traditional “design-bid-build”, or even “design-build”.  More projects can be accomplished on-time and on-budget with Job Order Contracting, Simplified Acquisition of Base Engineering Requirements, and IPD… it’s that simple.

Efficient project delivery is a requisite component to achieiving sustainability goals and BIM.

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2012 IECC Represents Significant Advances in High Performance Buildings

July 28, 2011–The International Code Council today released the 2012 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC), which includes efficiency improvements of up to 30% over conventional commercial building practices. The IECC is updated every three years and serves as a model for jurisdictions to use as a starting point for local code development. The 2012 version represents the largest single-step efficiency increase in the history of the IECC. Even though the efficiency gains in the new version of the model energy code are large, the 2012 IECC upgrades to equipment specifications and design strategies relating to building envelope, heating and cooling, lighting, quality assurance and renewable energy are readily available and affordable in the marketplace. “We know buildings that meet the new IECC are affordable and achievable because New Buildings Institute (NBI) has been working with utility and state efficiency programs to promote the creation of buildings designed on these same principles,” explained Dave Hewitt, NBI executive director. The 2012 IECC is largely based on NBI’s Core Performance® Guide, a direct approach to achieving energy savings in commercial buildings. Core Performance is a prescriptive alternative for LEED points and is part of energy efficiency programs across New England, eastern Canada and in Oregon. NBI estimates over 100 buildings around the country have been designed and built using Core Performance since 2008. “Increasing the efficiency of commercial energy codes provides the best opportunity to bring about significant savings and helps move our nation along the path toward low-energy buildings,” said Hewitt. “We’re thrilled that Core Performance contributed to the development of this new code version and offers design teams a running start on applying it,” he said. The energy savings in the 2012 IECC meet national calls from Congress, the Secretary of Energy and industry leaders to improve the efficiency of commercial buildings by 30 percent. Jurisdictions that aren’t ready to adopt the 2012 IECC as a base code, may consider making the standard a voluntary stretch code. Massachusetts offers such a code, also based on Core Performance, that cities can choose to adopt. Over 90 communities in the state follow the Massachusetts stretch code and local utilities offer incentives and technical assistance to commercial building owners and design teams that apply it.


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