Section 436 of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 requires the GSA to review (every 5 years) green building certification systems to identify a system that will encourage certification of Federal green buildings. In 2006 the General Services Administration (GSA) recommended that the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED rating system be used in the Federal sector for Federal buildings being built with “green standards.”

More recently the GSA issued a report of its evaluation of three different green building certification programs: LEED, Green Globes and the Living Building Challenge. The GSA concluded that while each program has certain relevant applications, none meets all of the Federal government’s needs. Throughout 2012, the GSA’s Discussion Group collected public comments on its evaluation which can be reviewed at the link above.

On February 5, 2013, the GSA published a notice in the Federal Register (78 Fed Reg. 8145), seeking additional comments on the following GSA findings:

  • Federal reliance on the private sector for the green building certification systems saves government resources.
  • Federal guidance should be developed that identifies the credits/points that all agencies should focus on. As part of this, the GSA determined that only one system should be relied upon at the agency level and use of multiple systems should be based on a finding that the agency’s structure supports it. The GSA also determined that the systems are flexible enough to develop applications to all building types if the Federal agencies have the right direction on how to use them.
  • The Federal sector should stay current with the evolution of green building certification systems. As part of this process, the GSA made the following additional findings: that the Federal sector should adopt a new version of a system within one year of its finalization; that the major Federal real property holders should periodically review green building certification systems, and the GSA should coordinate with the Department of Energy and Defense in its evaluation of these systems.
  • The Federal government should work with green building certification system owners to ensure better alignment with Federal needs.
    • Interested parties have 60 days after publication of the February 5, 2013 notice (i.e., April 5, 2013) to provide their comments on the findings.