LEED rating system remains federal government building benchmark

Sources: U.S. Green Building Council, Washington, D.C.; CP staff

The General Services Administration concludes that USGBC’s LEED green building rating system can and should be used in government buildings to advance energy efficiency and save taxpayers’ money.

“LEED continues to set a global example for market transformation,” says USGBC CEO Rick Fedrizzi. “As the premier rating system in the world, LEED will continue to inspire people and set the bar for healthy, energy efficient and high-performing buildings.”

GSA issued its recommendation based on the findings of the Ad-Hoc Review Group on Green Building Certification Systems. The agency’s decision comes a year after 1,250-plus businesses and organizations lobbied for continued use of LEED in federal building contracts. In February, a National Academy of Sciences report on green building certification systems recommended that the Department of Defense construct its buildings to LEEDʼs Silver standard or the equivalent.

A study by the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory found that GSA LEED-certified buildings use 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 internal report shows GSA has successfully reduced its energy use by nearly 20 percent since 2003 and water use by almost 15 percent since 2007.

“At this point, it is unassailable, LEED works. It has played a significant role in GSAʼs achievement of its energy and sustainability goals,” contends USGBC Senior Vice President, Global Policy and Law Roger Platt. “Any government agency that chooses to follow the private sector in using LEED certification does so because the result is better buildings and savings for the taxpayer.”