Green Building Initiative Launches Guiding Principles Compliance Program For New Construction Of Federal Buildings

Words: Bronzella Cleveland

The Green Building Initiative (GBI) announced in February 2014 the launch of Guiding Principles Compliance for New Construction (GPC NC) of federal buildings. According to GBI President Jerry Yudelson, this program for assessing building sustainability was developed with extensive input from federal government agencies and is now in use.

As a sister product to the GBI's program for existing federal buildings – Guiding Principles Compliance EB – which to date has been used to certify more than 250 existing federal buildings and facilities, GPC NC was developed to significantly reduce the amount of time and effort required from federal agency personnel to achieve a green building certification, enabling staff to retain focus on the agency's mission while concurrently measuring progress toward compliance with the Guiding Principles.

"The GBI's existing-building program has been extremely successful in driving current federal buildings toward higher performance goals with reduced environmental impact," Yudelson said. "The GPC NC program will do the same for new construction and major renovations in a way that's far more time-efficient for agency staff."

The GBI's GPC NC Program is the first third-party assessment and rating program designed specifically for federal agencies to assess compliance with the Guiding Principles for Federal Leadership in High Performance and Sustainable Building, established by Executive Order 13514, issued by President Barack Obama in 2009. The Order mandates that at least 15 percent of existing federal buildings and leases that are more than 5,000 square feet must meet Sustainability and Energy Efficiency Guiding Principles by 2015, and that annual progress be made toward 100-percent conformance of all federal buildings, with a goal of 100 percent of all new federal buildings achieving zero-net-energy by 2030.

Yudelson said, "It was very important to GBI to respond to President Obama's impressive leadership goals for energy efficiency and sustainability in Federal buildings by creating this low-cost but effective tool for assessing compliance."

In response to this mandate, GBI created a straightforward and cost-effective means, utilizing as the basis its existing Green Globes® for new construction rating and certification tool.

GBI's program includes a third-party on-site assessment, compliance score and rating, detailed reports, and supplemental tools to enhance and clarify the Guiding Principles Compliance process, which focuses on the following five key areas, which are equally weighted in the assessment:

  1. Employ integrated design principles
  2. Optimize energy performance
  3. Protect and conserve water
  4. Enhance indoor environmental quality
  5. Reduce environmental impact of materials

Projects are rated on a scale of zero-percent to 100-percent compliance, with a minimum score of 40 percent required for the first level of compliance. All told, there are five levels of compliance with 100-percent compliance receiving the highest score.

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