The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) issued a request for information (RFI) seeking public and industry input regarding green building certification systems. According to the RFI, GSA has been charged with providing a “formal recommendation to the Secretary of Energy that identifies a green building certification system(s) most likely to encourage a comprehensive and environmentally-sound approach to the certification of green federal buildings.”

“The information being asked for in this notice is not for the purpose of a proposed GSA rulemaking or a GSA regulation,” writes the agency. “GSA is requesting input from the public to better inform its recommendation to the Secretary of Energy on what green building certification system(s) the Federal government should use.”

GSA was charged with this goal by the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 and must evaluate green building certification systems every five years. GSA first evaluated certification systems in 2006 focusing on new construction and had recommended the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) to the Secretary of Energy for use in the Federal sector.

In May 2012, GSA completed its most recent evaluation of green building certification systems and this time focused on certification systems for new construction, major renovations and existing buildings. The three systems most closely looked at were the Green Building Initiative’s Green Globes, LEED and the International Living Building Institute’s Living Building Challenge. These were evaluated against 27 new construction and 28 existing building statutory and Executive Order requirements, according to GSA.

GSA found that Green Globes aligns with more of the Federal requirements for new construction than LEED or Living Building Challenge while LEED aligns with more of the Federal requirements for existing buildings than Green Globes or the Living Building Challenge.

“Ultimately, the 2012 report found that none of the existing green building certification systems as designed meets all of the Federal government’s needs for high-performance building metrics and conformity assessment, especially when considering the Federal sector’s statutory requirements in this area,” writes GSA. “However, better alignment between Federal requirements and green building certification system metrics and documentation could reinforce and continue the important role that green building certification systems currently play within Federal portfolios and in harmonizing Federal green building activities with the private sector.”

Some of the specific items at which GSA is currently looking and on which it is requesting feedback are as follows:

  • Interrelationships among green building certification systems and green building code-compliant standards for new construction;
  • Federal high-performance building design, construction and operations requirements;
  • Metrics to inform building performance tracking and reporting;
  • How high-performance in buildings can reduce the total cost of ownership; and
  • The appropriate role of green building certification systems in advancing high-performance buildings in the Federal sector.

The public comment period runs through April 8, and comments can be submitted online at (search for “Notice-MG-2012-04”), by fax to 202/501-4067, or by email to Comments also can be mailed to General Services Administration, Regulatory Secretariat (MVCB), ATTN: Hada Flowers, 1275 First Street, NE., 7th Floor, Washington, DC20417.