The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) owns and leases more than 9,600 properties around the U.S., a third of which are historic. To address some of the GSA’s building requirements, Lance David, LEED Fellow with the GSA, led a seminar titled, “Glazing Design for GSA Building Requirements,” during the Glass Conference sponsored by the National Glass Association (NGA).
David began with an overview of some of the buildings GSA owns, pointing out an emphasis on energy efficiency. If companies are interested in working on GSA projects, David recommended setting up email notifications though the System for Award Management (SAM) website at sam.gov.
“You can set up a search for key words. That’s where we advertise large jobs so you can be aware of those and make the determination about what you want to go after from a marketing standpoint,” he said.
There are two other ways to get involved in GSA projects. The second is to check the SAM website to find out which architecture firm was awarded a certain project.
“You can reach out to the architecture team to see if one of your products is right for the design,” he said.
The third way to keep up with GSA opportunities is to see which projects receive funding though omnibus bills in Congress.
The organization sets design performance using PBS-P100 – Facilities Standards for the Public Buildings Service. David said this goes beyond the I-codes and includes performance tiers. The document is updated every three years. He expects the 2021 version to be released in April or May, and that it will include “really robust, updated language” addressing bird-safe buildings.
“We’re looking forward to getting the 2021 version of P100 to raise the bar of bird safety in buildings,” he said.
When it comes to GSA’s guiding principles, David said the concept of integrative design is one of the most important. He described it as a process for how the organization brings ideas to fruition by finding ways components support each other and eventually bringing the project cost down. David said energy efficiency also is important, and that GSA is putting a greater emphasis on the carbon footprint of making a material.
David said that glass is important to provide daylighting and views. However, many design teams get this wrong and provide sunlight rather than daylight, which can cause GSA to implement corrective measures.
“There are studies on circadian rhythm and how daylight plays a role in that. If you don’t sleep well you can get sick or have health issues, so an office could become a location that is making you unwell. We’ve started to address that circadian rhythm needs to be thought about in the design process. Daylighting is one way to do that,” he said.
GSA requires mock-ups and testing because it plans to hold onto a building for 100-plus years and it wants the building to last for the appropriate timeframe.
David suggested that if manufacturers have solutions for energy efficiency, daylighting, glare, views, biomimicry, bird safety, power generation, high thermal resistance, security, listening device privacy, recyclability, privacy or artistic expression, to reach out to the GSA.
“If you’re in the process of developing a product and need to get testing done, I want to let you know about GSA’s Proving Ground. We’re looking to have an enormous inventory and are happy to work with manufacturers to see about installation of their product or technology into a building,” he said. “We’re working with U.S. Department of Energy labs and have an extensive measurement and verification process. At the end, the manufacture gets to use that process for their further development.”
The goal is to help bring products to market that can help GSA meet its goals along the way.