Industry won big today, as they gained equal standing with LEED as the preferred green building certification for the US federal government.
The US General Services Administration (GSA), which governs all federal buildings, has required basic LEED certification since 2003 and LEED-Gold since 2010. Government agencies are mandated to use certification when they do major renovations or construct new buildings under the Energy Independence and Security Act.
Now, GSA recommends both LEED and industry-friendly Green Globes.
27 trade groups representing industries that supply the vast construction industry – including chemicals and plastics industries – have been lobbying for Green Globes. They are not lobbying for Green Globes in addition to LEED – they want to ban the federal government from using LEED and to send those lucrative contracts their way only.
"GSA has opened this review to an extensive public process, and we’ve made this recommendation using input from the public, industry stakeholders, and sustainability experts," says Kevin Kampschroer, Director of GSA’s Office of Federal High-Performance Green Buildings. "We’ve found two tools that allow us to measure how federal buildings of all kinds can best save energy, improve overall performance, and cut down utility costs."
The difference between the two systems is small, says GSA, and the decision on which to use should be made on a project basis.
GSA Social Security building, certified LEED-Silver:
GSA recommends that agencies achieve at least LEED Silver or 2 Green Globes for new construction and major renovation, achieving as many points in the energy and water categories as possible. This should not dissuade agencies from earning a higher certification level, they say. It recommends that agencies choose one of the two systems to use.
GSA is required by law to evaluate and issue a recommendation every five years on which certification systems are best suited to meet government building goals, such as emissions reduction, energy and water consumption.
"Third party certification systems like LEED and Green Globes help in measuring reduction targets for water, energy, and greenhouse gas emissions against industry standards," says GSA. "Agencies can use one of the two certification systems that best meet their building portfolios, which range from office buildings, to laboratories, to hospitals, to airplane hangars."
Canada’s federal government uses Green Globe certification.