Jason Hartke

Earlier today, GSA released a request for information (RFI), publicly lauding the value of green building rating systems like LEED and asking for additional input into important issues that could help GSA accelerate and improve its green building work. With the direction laid out in today’s RFI, it looks like GSA is on the right track to continue its success.

There’s no question GSA has been a leader in energy and sustainability. A recent report showed that GSA has successfully reduced its energy use by almost 20 percent since 2003, and water use by almost 15 percent since 2007. That’s an enormous achievement. GSA’s application of LEED has helped in the agency’s building efficiency efforts. By ensuring energy and water savings and other efficiencies, LEED has played an important role in saving energy and money in government facilities. There are now more than 4,000 LEED certified government projects, and another 8,000 in the pipeline as registered projects. A study done by PNNL found that GSA LEED certified buildings used 25 percent less energy than the national average and cost 19 percent less to operate.

Today’s RFI is really about how GSA stays in a leadership position. It solicits public comment regarding concepts developed by the EISA §436(h) Ad-Hoc Review Group on Green Building Certification Systems. This review group concluded that the use of green building certification systems help the government meet environmental objectives and save money. Additionally, the RFI highlighted the importance of these systems in transforming the federal building stock and aligning with the good work occurring in the private sector. We were particularly pleased that the review group mentioned the importance of life cycle impacts and human health – both of which are important concerns reflected in the development of LEED v4.

The RFI also reflects the more than 1,250 businesses and organizations who urged GSA to continue to use LEED to improve the energy and environmental performance of its federal building portfolio. Today’s notice shows the country’s largest landlord is listening. Now is another opportunity for the green building community to speak up.

We urge you to comment on this RFI and let the government know that they are on the right track, and that LEED and our related programs, like Volume , GBIG, and Building Performance Partnership, are proven ways to save taxpayer dollars while meeting federal sustainability goals.

For instructions on how to submit a comment on this RFI, see the “Addresses” section of the Federal Register publication.