U.S. GREEN BUILDING COUNCIL: Government Update

Government owned or occupied LEED buildings make up 26% of all LEED projects
Government LEED projects:     2,200 certified  |  8,541 registered  |  38% Federal  |  24% State  |  38% Local

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From The Field: Fort Belvoir: A Successful Public-Private Partnership

Ahead of the Curve: The Green Building Information Gateway

Government Community News

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From The Field
Fort Belvoir: A Successful Public-Private Partnership
By Laurie Mitchell, LEED Associate, USGBC


Representing the Army's strong commitment to sustainability and openness to innovation, Fort Belvoir's Fairfax Village Neighborhood Center was awarded Platinum certification in 2009 through the LEED for New Construction version 2.2 rating system. The 3,770 square foot building is located in Fairfax Village on Fort Belvoir in Fairfax County, Virginia. Amenities include property management offices, a great room for large social functions, a conference room, and a playground.


Photo Courtesy of Clark Realty Capital

A variety of conservation measures were implemented in the neighborhood center, including the 12.2 kW photovoltaic system on the roof that generates 22.65% of the building's energy by cost. Additional energy-saving approaches include a well-insulated building envelope with high performance glazing, a ground source heat pump system with vertical wells, and a south facing trellis for shading. Potable water use was reduced within the building by 43.1% with the installation of dual-flush toilets and low-flow fixtures.

The Fort Belvoir project represents a partnership between the US Army and Clark Realty. As the first LEED Platinum building on any U.S. military base and in Fairfax County, the community building is one of many sustainable development endeavors completed by the Army's Residential Communities Initiative since 2003. The neighborhood center is also part of an adjacent park developed in 2009 which includes a butterfly garden, educational signage and village green with playgrounds oriented around mature trees that were preserved.

Casey Nolan of Clark Realty Capital advises project teams working with the government sector to abandon the "build and sell quickly" mindset of private sector developers. "With the government as either an owner, partner (as in the case of this project) or long term user (through a lease), the payback analysis should be a strong consideration in the design and decision making process. The Fairfax Village Neighborhood Center will operate for 40+ years. Although some of the energy efficiency investments cost more money up front, the payback of 10-15 years is far less than the life of the building," he explains.

Furthermore, Nolan notes that Clark's design philosophy and approach "may assist the government sector in understanding how their mission of improving the quality of life for service members and their families through amenities such as the LEED Platinum community center has synergies with other government missions. There are initiatives at the Installation and Department of Defense level to reduce the dependence on fossil fuels and to increase energy security. While only a 3,800 SF building, the Fairfax Village Neighborhood Center reduces the carbon footprint of the Installation, the Army and it saves our program money over time due to the energy investments with payback periods less than the life of the asset."

Visit the Fort Belvoir project page»
Email Casey Nolan for more information.

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Ahead of the Curve
The Green Building Information Gateway
By Gretchen Sweeney, Manager, LEED


The U.S. Green Building Council has been working to develop new tools that will improve the ways in which we analyze and share information about green buildings. These tools will benefit everyone – from owners and managers of private and public-sector building portfolios to the layperson who wants to know where he can find green buildings in his community.

The USGBC Research Program introduced a pilot version of the Green Building Information Gateway (GBIG) at Greenbuild 2010 and has continued to improve its functionality since then. GBIG provides access to substantial portions of the data that USGBC has compiled since introducing LEED certification. This online access point currently hosts two main applications: GBIG EXCHANGE: Portal and GBIG EXPLORER: Place. Users of these applications can view charts and tables that explore green building activity in cities, states, and countries, discover and create maps of green building activity, and browse thousands of project profiles.

GBIG EXCHANGE: Portal provides a web-based GIS platform for discovering, organizing and sharing green building maps and applications. Through EXCHANGE users can view maps contributed by others, create "mash ups" by combining existing map layers, and share their own content with a group of collaborators or a whole community of users. EXCHANGE also allows users to build web apps using templates and web mapping APIs and to create links to maps and apps to embed in web pages or blogs, and share through social media channels.

GBIG EXPLORER: Place is a web application that allows users to explore global green building activity and trends by geographical area, and make comparisons to other locations along dozens of metrics. Users can view an individual building or project profile and learn about its LEED credit achievement, walkability, transit access, awards and honors and the green strategies it employs. Maps, graphs and charts help users to quickly and easily view data regarding green building professionals, businesses, policies and projects in a specific place. GBIG EXPLORER: Place is currently under development, with a beta release planned for late 2011.

An additional mobile app is available to those with a GPS-enabled iPhone or iPad device: GBIG Project Analyst allows one to navigate a map of LEED-certified projects in the United States, compare projects to state or national averages for LEED credit achievement, and see select performance metrics for those projects. These metrics include the LEED Carbon Index, a synthetic performance indicator based on the achievement of multiple credits. The index is a weighted average indicating the fraction of all recognized green building strategies implemented by the project that contribute to greenhouse gas reduction.

Opportunities to add tools and expand this analytical platform are significant and timely. Officials and staff at all levels of government are looking for ways to quantify and communicate the impacts of green building to various stakeholder, especially to taxpayers with an eye on the bottom line. Government entities with green building programs and growing portfolios of certified buildings should keep an eye on GBIG, where they will find an ever-expanding set of resources for tracking performance and benchmarking their efforts.

Learn more on gbig.org »

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Government Community News
The Roadmap to Green Government Buildings

The new and improved Roadmap to Green Government Buildings is now available for free download at usgbc.org/government. The Roadmap is a guide for government professionals implementing green building programs and initiatives. It highlights key issues and references dozens of peer-developed resources created by government green building experts across the country. It now includes additional green building resources and case studies from all levels of government and has been expanded to address greening existing buildings and green portfolio management. Using the Roadmap will help professionals:

  • Find solutions to typical challenges faced by government green building professionals
  • Learn how government organizations are making green building their standard practice in planning, design, construction, operations and maintenance
  • Discover ideas for how a public green building program might expand in your community

Download the Roadmap and check back for updates about a launch webinar featuring Roadmap contributors.

USGBC members can access the previously recorded introductory webinar.

USGBC Government Summit 2011

Recap and conference proceedings

Attendance at USGBC's 9th annual Government Summit in May demonstrated that governments at every level are leading by example in building sustainability. Most notably, Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus announced an increased commitment by the U.S. Navy and Marines to build to LEED Gold, up from their previous LEED Silver commitment. Attendees a;sp received an update from the White House Council on Environmental Quality Chair Nancy Sutley on the President's Better Buildings Initiative.

Read more about the Government Summit, including the outstanding closing plenary by world-changing energy efficiency scientist, advocate, and former California Energy Commissioner, Dr. Art Rosenfeld and the Governor of Maryland and former Mayor of Baltimore, Martin O'Malley. 2011 conference proceedings, which feature both audio, video, and visual, are available for purchase.

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USGBC News
LEED 2012

Second Public Comment Period Opening Soon
In early November 2010, USGBC launched the 1st Public Comment Period for the next update of the LEED Rating System. The 1st Public Comment Period was open through January 19th, 2011 and generated over 5,000 comments from LEED stakeholders. Comments and recommendations are being reviewed by staff and LEED committees and responses will be posted on the LEED Rating System Development webpage. Further revisions will be made to rating system language based on comments, emerging themes, and knowledge we gained from participants in the Pilot Credit Library. The LEED Rating System 2nd Public Comment Period is expected to begin in July 2011. Additional public comment periods will be held as needed. A series of webinars will also be held during this period to review the proposed changes in each credit category.

Refer to the LEED Rating System Development webpage for updates. At the end of this process, a final draft will go before USGBC's membership for a vote. The LEED 2012 update is projected to be released November of 2012.

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