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Federal Green Building: Federal Efforts and Third-Party Certification Help Agencies Implement Key Requirements, but Challenges Remain


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As the nation's largest energy consumer, the federal government spent about $7 billion in fiscal year 2014 to provide energy to over 275,000 federally owned or leased buildings. Federal law and policies for improving sustainability across the federal government include "green building" provisions - construction and maintenance practices designed to make efficient use of resources and reduce environmental impacts, among other benefits. A March 2015 executive order required CEQ to revise key green building requirements and extended the time frames for implementation in existing buildings. Third-party certification systems are used to assess how well green building elements are incorporated into a building's design and operation. GAO was asked to review federal green building efforts and agencies' use of third-party certification systems. This report examines (1) federal efforts to support agencies' implementation of key green building requirements, (2) select agencies' use of third-party certification systems, and (3) challenges select agencies face in implementing requirements. GAO reviewed federal requirements; agency policies and guidance; and interviewed officials from agencies with supporting roles and agencies with experience implementing the requirements and using different certification systems. GAO also reviewed documentation and interviewed representatives from third-party certification organizations.



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