Federal government increases LEED supported Projects

Last Updated:
Fri, 2014-08-01 09:29

Although adoption rates for LEED-specific green building practices have steadily increased in the private sector, the growth of sustainable building initiatives in the federal government is an often overlooked segment of LEED certified projects. According to a recent report, the number of federal LEED certified projects increased by 51 percent this year, with over 821 projects completed to date in 2012. As noted by Lane Burt, director of technical policy at the U.S. Green Building Council, the rapid growth in federal agencies mirrors what is occurring in the private sector. Overall, the federal government has learned from the private sector on how to incorporate sustainability practices in its standard design and construction.

“It’s not just green building practices anymore – it’s become standard building practices. The growth is just a symptom of that process,” Burt said. Overall, the increased adoption rates is largely attributed to the growing understanding of the green building process and its benefits to both energy savings and reductions in operating costs. The success of LEED certification in the federal government to reduce operating costs is demonstrated in a variety of recently completed projects. For example, the partnership between the U.S. General Services Administration and NASA resulted in the designation of LEED Platinum certification for the Langley Research Center. With its newly adopted sustainable features, the center is expected to save over $2.5 million annually. Additionally, the Harold Washington Social Security Administration Center in Chicago, which features rooftop solar panels, energy-efficient lighting and water features, and new heating and cooling systems, earned LEED Gold certification back in July. The center currently operates with a 20 percent reduction in energy use and a 2 million gallon reduction in water use yearly.

Above: Langley Research Center

Below: Harold Washington Social Security Administration Center

At present, the LEED rating system is the standard for environmental building practices in both the private and public sectors. According to the General Service Administration, LEED is the “most credible rating system available,” and minimum requirements for GSA-owned facilities undergoing renovation or new construction now include LEED Gold certification, up from LEED Silver requirements.

Overall, the recent report underlines the extensive adoption rates of LEED practices on the federal level. Given the significant energy reduction and cost-saving incentives of green building practices, the federal government will continue to propel LEED building practices forward. As LEED continues to become the standard across the public and private sector, now is the best time to begin learning more about LEED-specific features. Everblue currently offers various LEED courses including Green Associate, Project Experience, and AP + Specialty courses. For more information, please visit our LEED courses or call us at 800-460-2575.

By Peter J. Bock

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