While preparing for my presentation "Legal Considerations When Building Green" for the National Research Council, I contemplated what proposals I wanted to make to the federal agency representatives that would be in attendance.
The federal government is pushing federal investment in green buildings through $25 billion allocated from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and through the Executive Order 13514, which includes numerous building efficiency requirements. As federal agencies attempt to implement green building programs, it is important to facilitate and share green building knowledge across the numerous federal agencies.
In my view, the General Services Administration (GSA) is in the best position to facilitate a cohesive federal strategy for green building. The GSA has been developing and constructing LEED certified buildings since 2002. Last year, the New York Times profiled a GSA building in Ohio that failed to achieve energy savings despite receiving LEED certification in 2002. The GSA has experience, both good and bad, with green buildings that can significantly benefit other federal agencies that are just now starting out with green buildings.
As I contemplated making what I thought was a drastic proposal, the GSA released the following information:
"GSA has made significant changes that will strengthen its role in helping the Obama Administration make the federal government a leader in sustainability.
First, the Office of Federal High-Performance Green Buildings has been moved from PBS [Public Buildings Service] to the Office of Governmentwide Policy. . . .
As part of governmentwide policy, the Office of Federal High-Performance Green Buildings will expand its reach to provide federal agencies with measurement tools and policies to meet its sustainability mandates."
To me, this seems like a move in the right direction. But what do you think? Is the GSA the best agency to coordinate federal green building policy? Related Links GSA Makes Changes to Bolster Sustainability Efforts (GSA) New York Times, USGBC Address LEED Performance Gap (GBLU)