LEED Building Certification System to be used for GSA Buildings
After two years of careful consideration, the Green Building Advisory Committee has put out an official recommendation to GSA that the LEED Green Building Certification system be used for all GSA buildings. In putting forth this recommendation the committee has determined that LEED standards are the best for determining the overall efficiency of a building.
Throughout the two year process, the committee considered over 180 different building certification models. In 2012 GAS released an RFI regarding the value of various green building certifications and the ability of each system to encourage comprehensive and environmentally-sound buildings. 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 objective of the Green Building Advisory Committee is to help the government meet environmental objectives and save taxpayer dollars by increasing the efficiency of the buildings it owns and leases. According to GSA, the U.S. government owns and leases nearly 3.4 billion sq. ft. of real estate and is the largest consumer of energy in the U.S. In accordance with the Energy Independence and Security Act, the committee is required to review certification systems every five years.
In a recent report, GSA showed the agency has successfully reduced its energy use by almost 20 percent since 2003 and water use by almost 15 percent since 2007. These numbers are in line with a study done by PNNL that found that GSA LEED certified buildings used 25 percent less energy than the national average and cost 19 percent less to operate. Establishing LEED as the building certification system for GSA buildings and construction projects will continue to enhance these efforts.