Section 436(h) of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA) requires GSA to evaluate high-performance building certification systems and provide the findings to the Secretary of Energy who, in consultation with the Department of Defense and GSA, formally identifies system(s) to be used across the federal government. GSA’s Office of Federal High-Performance Buildings has just completed and published its High-Performance Building Certification Systems Review Findings Report (Findings Report). This report summarizes GSA’s formal review of five systems that passed an initial market analysis screening (LEED, Green Globes, Living Building Challenge, BOMA BEST, and BREEAM). These systems were assessed against a set of review criteria to evaluate how they were developed and how effectively the systems align with current high-performance federal building requirements.
GSA researched the U.S. market for whole-building certification systems. This screening identified six systems (one system, Earth Advantage, declined to participate):
- BOMA BEST® Sustainable Buildings, version 3.0
- Building Research Establishment’s Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM®) In-Use USA, version 2016
- Green Globes®, version 2013
- Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED®), version 4.0
- Living Building Challenge (LBC™), version 3.1
GSA invited system owners to complete a survey, which asked for information on the technical components of the certification system that address federal high-performance building requirements and industry best practice as well as the processes by which the system was created and awards certification
GSA developed the list of effectiveness criteria and development and conformance criteria based on specific building requirements found in:
- The Green Building Certification Systems Requirement for New Federal Buildings and Major Renovations of Federal Buildings Final Rule, 1 Department of Energy (DOE) Rule
- The 2016 Guiding Principles for Sustainable Federal Buildings (Guiding Principles)
Using the results of an independent verification and evaluation of the survey responses, GSA determined whether the building certification systems demonstrate alignment with the effectiveness criteria and development and conformance criteria.
GSA evaluated 39 sub-criteria for new construction and building interior systems and 36 sub-criteria for existing buildings systems.