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A new GSA review of green building certification systems finds LEED the most closely aligned with federal goals.

The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) has just released its Findings Report summarizing the agency’s review of green building certification systems for federal use. GSA, the nation's largest civilian public real estate organization, provides workspace for more than 1.1 million federal workers through its Public Buildings Service.

GSA also released its draft recommendations and seeks public comment through July 1.

LEED meets top standards

USGBC supports the GSA Findings Report and its independently reviewed conclusion that LEED is the system most closely aligned with federal goals. Green building certification systems, including LEED, are important tools for federal agencies, which have successfully applied LEED and green building systems to achieve substantial benefits for taxpayers and federal employees.

GSA has documented that its high-performing buildings save 23% in energy use, 28% in water use, 23% in building operating expenses and 9% in waste, based on examining 200 buildings over a three-year period. Many of the high-performing buildings in the GSA study are LEED-certified, and USGBC supports the work of the federal sector and these critical outcomes.

LEED’s minimum prerequisites and approach to point allocations provides assurance to federal agencies that projects will be designed or operated to perform above baseline levels in key categories of energy, water, waste, indoor environments and site sustainability.

With more than 5,000 certified federal projects, LEED is the green building system of choice for federal leaders. The GSA review helps underscore how LEED supports federal goals. Ongoing improvement and enhancements, such as the LEED Resilient Design pilot credits, will continue to keep LEED a responsive and valuable tool for federal projects.

Evaluating achievements in green building

GSA owns and leases over 376.9 million square feet of space in 9,600 buildings, in more than 2,200 communities nationwide. Under the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) of 2007, GSA is required to identify the green building certification system most likely to encourage a comprehensive and environmentally sound approach to certification of buildings in the federal sector. The law sets forth key criteria for GSA’s review, reflecting the role of certification systems in evaluating and measuring achievements in sustainable buildings and rewarding relative levels of performance.

This marks the agency’s third “Five Year Review” under the law. For this review, GSA applied a new methodology, including collecting information from green building system owners through a survey and providing an independent, third-party review by the Rocky Mountain Institute. LEED has consistently received superior scores across all three reviews.

Read the GSA review documents.

Questions? Contact the USGBC Advocacy and Policy team.

Download the Findings Report