Last week, we discussed the DOE’s Retrofit Ramp-Up initiative (“Retrofits and Revamps”), and, according to a new report by the US Green Building Council (USGBC), these DOE revamps are only part of a larger opportunity available to the federal government: the ability to use 30 existing programs to enhance energy efficiency in buildings and residences across the country. In a report entitled “Using Executive Authority to Achieve Greener Buildings,” USGBC outlines how the federal government can capitalize on “best practices, lessons learned, and other initiatives already in place across the country.”
Among the Possibilities:
* Department of Agriculture: agency-wide building policy that requires new or major renovation construction of covered facilities to achieve LEED Silver certification
* Department of Interior: a Sustainable Buildings Implementation Plan, requiring new construction and major renovation building projects with gross construction costs greater than $2,000,000 achieve LEED Certified or one Green Globe
* Department of Veterans Affairs: a Sustainable Design and Energy Reduction policy requiring all new standalone construction and major renovation projects to be designed and constructed to achieve LEED Silver certification and encouraging, but not requiring these projects to pursue formal LEED certification
* US Air Force: a LEED Application Guide for Lodging projects and has conducted LEED training seminars for its design and construction personnel
There are also a host of state and regional initiatives (full list here) that range from governor-signed bills encouraging “green” design to city council ordinances that provide incentives for the construction of new LEED-certified buildings. All in all, according to USGBC “Government-owned or occupied LEED buildings make up 29% of all LEED projects. The federal government has 221 certified projects and another 3349 pursuing certification.”
Why does LEED certification matter? The benefits of the USGBC LEED certification program are the clearly defined categories and requirements, as well as the emphasis on best practices, low-impact design, and energy efficiency. Additionally, as LEED has become more and more familiar to developers, large commercial interests, and facilities managers, greater importance has been attributed to achieving LEED certification.
So what do you think? Is LEED certification for facilities synonymous with intelligent structures and energy efficiency? And does USGBC’s LEED program do enough to promote the energy efficiency benefits of onsite power and distributed generation?