The Green Building Initiative is a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization, ANSI Accredited Standards Developer, and well established provider of building sustainability assessment and certification services within the Federal Sector. As a result of GBI's expertise with sustainability evaluation tools and third-party building assessments, VA turned to GBI to develop a means to assess and demonstrate compliance to the requirements of Executive Order 13514, and to apply it to the approximate 180 buildings already undergoing Green Globes certification.
The executive order states that by 2015, 15% of each agencies federally owned or leased buildings >5,000 square feet or larger must incorporate the sustainable practices from the Federal Leadership in High Performance and Sustainable Buildings Guidance Document (12/1/08) www.wbdg.org/references/fhpsb.php. The Five Guiding Principles which federal agency buildings must comply are:
Employ integrated design principles
Optimize energy performance
Protect and conserve water
Enhance quality of indoor air environment
Reduce environmental impact of building materials
Reporting mandates for these requirements stipulate that there should be accuracy and consistency in reporting across agencies; agencies should leverage existing resources which are already dedicated to property management; agencies must demonstrate annual progress toward 100% compliance to the goals; and these goals should be met while creating the least amount of disruption to agencies and their missions.
Although GBI's Green Globes Continual Improvement of Existing Buildings (CIEB) Program has been shown to significantly overlap the Guiding Principles, a separate assessment program was necessary to meet the VA's compliance requirements. Accordingly, GBI developed a dedicated program that incorporates an intuitive self-evaluation survey, an on-site assessment and documentation review by a third-party sustainability expert, and a certified compliance score/rating for each building. Agencies may choose to pursue either or both certifications (Green Globes and Guiding Principles Compliance), which can be generally completed from start to finish generally within about 3 months.
GBI's program has been developed to address the specific needs of Federal Government agencies and represents practical, thorough, and credible means to demonstrate compliance as required by Executive Order 13514. By virtue of the involvement of a third-party and standardized means for determining compliance and reporting, it sets a standard for consistency and accuracy. With GBI's rating scale, even buildings that complete the process achieving less than full compliance can be certified for their level of compliance and be recognized for their building's achievement. The program can be deployed portfolio-wide with minimal training, discounts for campus buildings, and does not require the involvement of external consultants.
"Federal Government agencies are now addressing requirements for building sustainability performance measurement and reporting on a broad scale," said Joe Pinelli VP and General Manager for the GBI. According to Pinelli, "Not only is GBI's Guiding Principle Compliance program the first of its kind in the industry but one that has been proven in real world practice on a broad scale. The GBI's Guiding Principle compliance program's ease of use, accuracy of assessment, and reporting credibility can be a model for other federal government agencies to use."
The GBI launched their new Guiding Principles program at EcoBuild in Washington DC December 7-9.
For more information about GBI's Green Globes and Guiding Principles Compliance certification program, please visit this site www.thegbi.org/guiding-principles. You may also sign up to attend a free webinar at this link: www.thegbi.org/live-webseminars.