Committee Advises GSA to Maintain LEED as Best Measure of Building Efficiency

The Green Building Advisory Committee established by the General Services Administration (GSA) officially recommended to GSA that the LEED green-building certification system be used for all GSA buildings as the best measure of building efficiency. The committee also conveyed that LEED should be the primary way to show how agency buildings use energy and water and that LEED standards are the most conducive to meet the Energy Independence and Security Act.

The Green Building Advisory Committee has evaluated more than 160 tools and systems since it began in 2011, and in February, GSA released a request for information (RFI) that publicly lauded the value of green-building rating systems, like LEED, and asked for additional input into important issues that could help GSA accelerate and improve its green-building work.

“GSA has been a leader in energy and sustainability, and we are thrilled to see the leaders in the public and private sectors continue to recommend LEED as the best choice for GSA to maintain its leadership status while improving sustainability, reducing energy and saving money for its buildings,” says Roger Platt, senior vice president of Global Policy & Law, USGBC. “Consensus-based and market-driven, LEED has been and continues to be invaluable to thousands of building professionals and remains the best option for the GSA and any governmental agency looking to save taxpayer dollars and increase energy efficiency.”

According to an article released by Federal News Radio, GSA received more than 400 comments from 162 stakeholders from all facets of the building and academic industries, as well as local federal and local government agencies. The full list of comments will be released later this spring, but the recommendation to use LEED comes from a study of more than 160 tools and standards, which found only three of them addressed the entire building system.

A study done by the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) found that GSA LEED-certified buildings used 25 percent less energy than the national average and cost 19 percent less to operate. GSA’s application of LEED has helped in the agency’s building efficiency efforts, and there are now more than 4,000 LEED certified government projects with another 8,000 in the pipeline as registered projects. A recent report from GSA shows the agency has successfully reduced its energy use by almost 20 percent since 2003 and water use by almost 15 percent since 2007.

In addition, in a letter to GSA in July of 2012, 1,260 companies from the green-building industry opposed deviating from LEED in federal facilities because such a change would add cost to the building and leasing process across the building industry.

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