GSA Requires Leed Gold

GSA has recently increased its minimum requirement for new construction and substantial renovation of Federally-owned facilities to LEED® Gold …

Sustainable Design Program

Sustainable design seeks to reduce negative impacts on the environment, and the health and comfort of building occupants, thereby improving building performance. The basic objectives of sustainability are to reduce consumption of non-renewable resources, minimize waste, and create healthy, productive environments.

Sustainable design principles include the ability to:

  • optimize site potential;
  • minimize non-renewable energy consumption;
  • use environmentally preferable products;
  • protect and conserve water;
  • enhance indoor environmental quality; and
  • optimize operational and maintenance practices.

Utilizing a sustainable design philosophy encourages decisions at each phase of the design process that will reduce negative impacts on the environment and the health of the occupants, without compromising the bottom line. It is an integrated, holistic approach that encourages compromise and tradeoffs. Such an integrated approach positively impacts all phases of a building’s life-cycle, including design, construction, operation and decommissioning.

GSA and Sustainable Design

GSA is committed to incorporating principles of sustainable design and energy efficiency into all of its building projects. The result is an optimal balance of cost, environmental, societal and human benefits while meeting the mission and function of the intended facility. It is GSA’s intent that sustainable design will be integrated as seamlessly as possible into the existing design and construction process.


GSA uses the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) Green Building Rating System of the U.S. Green Building Council as a tool for evaluating and measuring achievements in sustainable design. The use of LEED® ensures that sustainable strategies are considered in the development of all GSA building projects. GSA has recently increased its minimum requirement for new construction and substantial renovation of Federally-owned facilities to LEED® Gold, the next highest level of certification.  Until recently, GSA had required LEED® Silver.  LEED® consists of a set of prerequisites and credits with specific requirements for obtaining points in order to become a certified green building.

Sustainability Matters

Sustainability Matters is a publication of case studies and best-practices that address GSA’s sustainability initiatives and strategies at all stages of a building’s lifecycle. Sustainability Matters is the first comprehensive overview by a federal agency related to the issues of building, operating and maintaining facilities sustainably.

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ACCOUNTING STANDARDS FOR SUSTAINABILTY – Strategy, risk, governance, financial performance-

Accounting Group Backs Standards for Sustainabilty Accounting

AUGUST 2, 2010
A new international committee formed Monday by the Prince of Wales’ Accounting for Sustainability Project (A4S) and the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) will work to integrate the way companies report on strategy, risk, governance, financial performance and sustainability.

The International Integrated Reporting Committee (IIRC), whose high-profile members include the heads of FASB, the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB), the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC), each of the Big Four firms, representatives of some of the world’s largest institutional investors and governance organizations, is the result of a decision made last December at a meeting of more than 20 organizations including the AICPA to form a committee that would oversee development of an integrated reporting model (see Proposal: Connect Sustainable Activities and Financial Reports).

The organizations agreed that part of the problem in reporting on sustainability issues is that numerous organizations are developing standards but no single organization is coordinating the efforts.

“The intention is to help with the development of more comprehensive and comprehensible information about an organization’s total performance, prospective as well as retrospective, to meet the needs of the emerging, more sustainable, global economic model,” the A4S and GRI said in a joint press release.

“The case for globally consistent financial reporting standards is well understood and accepted,” said IASB Chairman Sir David Tweedie in the press release. “It is appropriate to apply the same global approach to other aspects of corporate reporting. This initiative represents an important step on that journey.”

“The goal of the IIRC is not to increase the reporting burden on companies and other entities,” said IFAC CEO Ian Ball. “Rather, it is to help them and all their stakeholders make better resource allocation decisions. All of us have a stake in a sustainable society. While integrated reporting alone cannot ensure sustainability it is a powerful mechanism to help us all make better decisions about the resources we consume and the lives we lead.”

Further information on the IIRC can be found at

The A4S project was launched in 2004 by The Prince of Wales to develop decision-making and reporting systems that take into account the longer-term and broader consequences of actions and are capable of responding to the sustainability challenges faced in the 21st century. A4S works with businesses, investors, governments, accounting bodies, the public and academics to build an international consensus around the need for a generally accepted integrated reporting framework and to develop practical guidance and tools to embed sustainability into decision-making processes.

The GRI has developed a widely used sustainability reporting framework and is committed to its continuous improvement and application worldwide. This framework sets out the principles and indicators that organizations can use to measure and report their economic, environmental and social performance.

–Matthew G. Lamoreaux ( is a JofA senior editor.

National Green / High Performance Building Code

The International Green Construction Code (IGCC) is supported by the International Code Council (ICC); the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE); the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC); and the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IES).

National Green Building Standard(ICC 700-2008)— residential green with ANSI approval, can be used vs. IGCC.

IGCC offers the ANSI/ASHRAE/USGBC/IES Standard 189.1, Standard for the Design of High Performance, Green Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential –  water use efficiency, indoor environmental quality, energy efficiency, materials and resource use, and the building impact.