The General Services Administration is seeking public input on its analysis of LEED v4 and other questions related to the Federal Government’s use of LEED v4.
Given that the Federal Government is, by far, the largest owner of buildings in North America, and is also the owner or more green buildings and more LEED certified buildings than anyone else, this is significant.
The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 requires the GSA to review existing green building certification systems every 5 years to identify a system and certification level “deem[ed] to be most likely to encourage a comprehensive and environmentally sound approach to certification of green buildings.”
The Director of GSA’s Office of Federal High-Performance Green Buildings provides the findings of that review to the Secretary of Energy who, in consultation with the Department of Defense and GSA, formally identifies the system(s) to be used across the federal government. Such a review was undertaken in 2006 and 2012.
After an evaluation process that spanned several years, and after agency, public, and private sector input, GSA recommended in October 2013 that agencies use one of two green building certification systems that best suit agency missions and portfolio needs: the Green Building Initiative’s Green Globes 2010 and the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED 2009.
GSA completed a supplemental review of the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED v4 in November 2014 to determine its alignment with Federal green building requirements. And while some have suggested that v4 generally aligns, there are very real and large gaps in the robustness of the new LEED version credits with respect to energy and materials where the v4 credits are not aligned with Federal statutes, regulations and Executive Orders.
On January 21, 2015, GSA published a request for information in the Federal Register seeking additional public input on its analysis of LEED v4 and several other questions related to the Government’s use of LEED v4 and future GSA reviews of green building certification systems.
GSA is soliciting comments for 60 days, ending on March 23, 2015 and those active in the environmental industrial complex are urged to comment.
GSA is also holding an online public listening session on March 2, 2015 from 1 – 3 p.m. EST to hear comments from stakeholders. Information on the public listening session can be found at: http://www.gsa.gov/portal/content/206591
Once the comment period closes, GSA will be using this input to augment its 2013 recommendation as it relates to LEED v4.
“GSA elected not to re-review the Green Globes rating systems at this time with .. changes looming.”
On a closely related matter, it is important to note that on October 14, 2014, the U.S. DOE published a final rule that formally identifies criteria that green building certification systems must meet in order to be used by the Federal Government. This GSA request for information is not for the purposes of that final rulemaking, but to inform GSA on its related responsibilities to study green building certification systems and recommend ones to the DOE that may fit within the framework of the final rule. DOE’s final rule is worthy of your reading.