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Once again, GSA recognizes that LEED works

Published on Written by Posted in Advocacy and policy
photo credit: AmericnJewl via Flickr Creative Commons
photo credit: AmericnJewl via Flickr Creative Commons

“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

That’s what General Services Administration (GSA) concluded again on October 25. After a lot of study, the GSA decided that the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED green building rating system can and should be used in government buildings. LEED, it said, advances energy efficiency and saves taxpayers’ money.

LEED has become synonymous with excellence and it’s comforting to know that GSA, the largest landlord in the country, has again verified LEED’s effectiveness. As the premier rating system in the world, LEED will continue to inspire people and set the bar high for healthy, energy efficient and high-performing buildings, not just in private sector, but also for the U.S. government. More than 1,250 businesses and organizations urged GSA to continue to use LEED.  Also, earlier this year, theNational Academy of Sciences released a report that recommended that the Department of Defense do the same.  Basically, LEED is the only proven go-to standard for energy efficiency and taxpayer savings.

These studies show, time and again, that LEED works, and it's been working hard for hundreds of certified government buildings across the country, like the Treasury building, which is saving $3.5 million a year from energy savings.  And it works for GSA, who reported that LEED helps the government achieve its energy and sustainability goals. GSA also acknowledges that LEED standards produce better buildings that run more inexpensively than buildings not constructed to those standards. And after studying green building systems for a year and a half, GSA’s independent Committee on Green Building Certification Systems  voted 10-6 in may to support LEED as the green building program of choice for the federal government.

During this process, powerful special interests lobbying groups tried to pressure GSA to abandon LEED altogether despite the enormous industry support for it. While these lobbying groups were successful in allowing the use of an imported system from Canada, we know that government agencies, just like the private sector, will gravitate toward the effectiveness and accountability of LEED. No other system comes close to matching the massive green building support infrastructure that LEED provides.

And practitioners and policymakers alike understand that LEED performs. Study after study has come to the same conclusion. A study by The Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) found that GSA LEED certified buildings used 25 percent less energy than the national average and cost 19 percent less to operate. There are currently more than 4,000 LEED certified government projects with another 8,000 in the pipeline as registered projects. A recent report from GSA shows the agency has successfully reduced its energy use by nearly 20 percent since 2003 and water use by almost 15 percent since 2007.

Such conclusions resonate worldwide. More than 1.5 million square feet of space around the globe is certified using LEED every day, making LEED the most widely used high-performance building program for the design, construction, maintenance and operations of green buildings. More than 55,000 projects are currently participating in the commercial and institutional LEED rating systems and more than 46,000 residential units have been certified under the LEED for Homes rating system.

Quite simply and undeniably, LEED makes buildings better.

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    Jason Hartke made 10 contributions in the last 6 months

Jason Hartke

Vice President, National Policy and Advocacy U.S. Green Building Council

1 commentLeave a comment

Managing Principal, Earthly Ideas LLC
I found reading more details on the October 25, 2013 GSA recommendation enlightening - including the GSA announcement - http://www.gsa.gov/portal/content/131983 and report - http://www.gsa.gov/graphics/ogp/Cert_Sys_Review.pdf and an article in EBN -http://www.buildinggreen.com/auth/article.cfm/2013/11/1/Feds-Put-Green-Globes-on-Pedestal-with-LEED/.

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