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Want to have a say in whether federal agencies keep using LEED? Here’s your chance.
Following up on a 2012 report, the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) is requesting public comments on its long-awaited recommendations about green building certification systems. Here’s our quick-and-dirty summary of the committee’s findings. You have sixty days to get back to GSA.
The first finding is that green building rating systems are a good thing. They “maintain robust, integrated frameworks of performance metrics, standards and conformity assurance.” And using them saves taxpayers money “by eliminating the cost to Government of developing its own standards.”
The GSA isn’t going to tell you whether LEED, Green Globes, or the Living Building Challenge is the best rating system for each agency’s mission. But they want agencies to keep these things in mind:
GSA is mandated to do an interagency review of green building rating systems every five years (that’s the process they are finishing up now). With this recommendation, they’re suggesting that all the agencies need to stay current with evolving programs between interagency reviews.
They also recommend that other agencies with big building portfolios set up a similar review process to ensure the chosen system continues to meet its needs.
Finally, GSA recommends that the federal government should be working with groups who develop the rating systems to ensure that they align better with federal standards as they evolve.
We’ve been expecting GSA to release its final report for several months now, so having the recommendations released in this form, and without recommending a specific system, was something of a surprise.
The political atmosphere around GSA’s previous reliance on LEED has heated up, and it looks like GSA wilted. The new policy (subject to comment) would abandon a single endorsement of a rating system and leave federal agencies with the task of making a choice. If this is how GSA responded to political pressure, we can only imagine how individual agencies will respond.
The deeper reasons for this approach are not yet clear, but watch this space for an analysis as we learn more. Meanwhile, let us know what you think of the recommendations in comments.
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