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1 Context Although environmentally responsive design is a centuries-old concept, the terms “green build- ing,” “sustainably designed building,” and “high-performance building” have become part of the public dialogue relatively recently. The definitions of these terms vary widely. They can be as detailed as the definition outlined in the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) of 2007 (Public Law 110-140) (see Chapter 2) or as broadly as “buildings that are healthy for the occupants, the planet, and for the future of life, and that generate more energy than they use and purify more water than they pollute” (see Appendix D). Overall, the goal is to design buildings that meet a broad range of performance objectives related to land use, transportation, energy and water efficiency, indoor environmental quality, and other factors (NRC, 2007). Advanced efforts such as the Living Building Challenge1 seek to design buildings that will harvest all of their own energy and water, operate pollution free, and promote the health and well-being of the people who use them. This new interest in buildings has been spurred, in part, by ever-increasing knowledge about the impact of indoor environments on people and the impacts of buildings on the environment. Research has shown that the design, operation, and maintenance of buildings can affect the health, safety, and productivity of the people who occupy them (NRC, 2007). Leaking roofs, for example, can lead to excessive indoor mois- ture and mold, which in turn, can exacerbate asthma in people, leading to illness and loss of productivity (NRC, 2007). Buildings are also resource intensive: In the United States, buildings account for 40 percent of primary energy use, 12 percent of water consumption, and 60 percent of all nonindustrial waste (NSTC, 2008). The processes for producing energy at power plants and delivering that energy to buildings to power heating, cooling, ventilation systems, computers, and appliances account for up to 40 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions (NAS-NAE-NRC, 2008). Policy makers and others have recognized that new ways of designing, operating, retrofitting, and managing buildings will be essential in solving the national challenges of energy independence, global climate change, and environmental sustainability. Greater evidence-based knowledge about buildings has also led to new processes and tools for measuring and evaluating how buildings perform throughout their life cycles. Buildings are systems 1 Information available at http://ilbi.org/lbc. 9
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10 ACHIEVING HIGH-PERFORMANCE FEDERAL FACILITIES FIGURE 1.1 Planning for buildings at larger scales; campus of U.S. Department of En- ergy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory. SOURCE: Pat Corkery. fig 1-1.eps of interrelated systems and components, including facades, roofs, foundations, windows, mechanical, bitmap electrical, ventilation, air conditioning, and plumbing systems. The quality of a building’s performance over the 30 or more years it is used will be the result of numerous, individual decisions about location, siting, design, construction, materials, function, operation, and maintenance. Performance will also be a function of how the building is used by occupants. Today, a building’s performance can be measured in terms of its indoor environmental quality (e.g., quality of air, ventilation, lighting, comfort of occupants), its use of materials, energy, and other natural resources, and its emissions into the air and water. Improved evaluation has led to the development of new technologies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, energy and water use, and to provide power through renewable sources. Among these technologies are “cool” roofs,2 high-performance lighting, Energy Star rated appliances and equipment, WaterSense fixtures, and windows and control systems that optimize the use of natural daylight while minimizing heat loss. The scale at which buildings are managed and evaluated is also changing: The focus has shifted from individual buildings to entire portfolios (groups of buildings under a single ownership or management), neighborhoods, communities, regions, watersheds, airsheds, and economies. As the scale of design has increased, so have the opportunities for sharing infrastructure and conserving land and open space. Larger-scale planning allows architects, engineers, planners, and others to leverage infrastructure sys- tems, to cluster development and conserve land and open space, and to think in terms of environmental restoration and regeneration. At larger scales, the use of technologies such as district energy systems, combined heat and power (co-generation) plants, geothermal conditioning systems, water capture and reuse, and others can result in greater reductions of energy and water use than can be realized through a building-by-building approach (Figure 1.1). FEDERAL FACILITIES During its 200+ years of existence, the federal government has acquired facilities (buildings and other structures) worldwide to support its various missions and programs for the American public. These facilities enable the conduct of foreign and public policy, national defense, the preservation of historic, 2 Coolroofs include both white roofs, which stay cooler in the sun by reflecting incident sunlight back into space, and green (vegetative) roofs, which absorb rainwater and then cool by evapotranspiration.
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11 CONTEXT cultural, and educational artifacts, scientific and medical research, recreation, and the delivery of goods and services (Figure 1.2). Almost half of these facilities are at least 50 years old and some have been designated historically significant (NRC, 1998). The U.S. federal government owns or leases approximately 429,000 buildings of many types (Figure 1.3) with a total of 3.34 billion square feet worldwide (Table 1.1), as of fiscal year (FY) 2009. As of that year, approximately 83 percent of the total square footage of federal buildings located within the 50 states was owned space, 13 percent was leased, and 4 percent was otherwise managed (GSA, 2010). Federal facilities are owned and operated by more than 30 individual departments and agencies. The Army, Air Force, Navy, U.S. General Services Administration (GSA), and Department of Veterans Affairs manage the largest amounts of building space as measured by square footage (GSA, 2010). Because all federal agencies have different missions and programs, the composition of their indi- vidual portfolios of facilities varies widely in terms of building types (e.g., offices, hospitals, bar- racks, museums, laboratories), age, condition, geographic distribution, and configuration (campus type, installations, individual buildings). The military services, for example, own bases and installations that operate much like small cities and are distributed across the United States and the world. In contrast, the Smithsonian Institution owns museums and research laboratories located in a relatively few, but geographically dispersed locations, while the Department of Energy owns numerous sites containing industrial, administrative, and nuclear facilities. The GSA manages 354 million square feet of space in 8,600 buildings, including offices, border stations, courthouses, laboratories, post offices, and data processing centers. The GSA manages this space on behalf of numerous federal agencies. Typically, in any given year, the federal government as a whole spends about $30 billion on the design and construction of new facilities (NRC, 2004). In FY 2009, federal agencies reported spending $21.3 billion to operate buildings,3 of which $13.2 billion was for owned buildings and $8.1 billion for leased buildings4 (GSA, 2010). However, the level of investment in facilities maintenance and repair has been inadequate for many years, resulting in backlogs of repair projects estimated in the tens of billions of dollars (GAO, 2009). Furthermore, federal agencies reported in FY 2008 that they own more than 10,000 excess buildings (i.e., no longer needed to support agency missions) containing 43 million square feet of space and cost- ing about $133 million to operate. An additional 45,000 buildings have been identified as underutilized (defined as the extent to which a property is used to its fullest capacity) (GSA, 2009). Recognizing the significant role of buildings in solving national issues such as energy independence and security, and recognizing the opportunity for federal leadership, Congress and two presidential administrations have enacted laws and issued executive orders directing federal agencies to develop high-performance, energy-efficient, and sustainable federal buildings. EISA defines the attributes of a federal high-performance green building and establishes numerous objectives for federal buildings, including objectives for the reduction of energy, water, and fossil fuel use. Executive Order 13514, Federal Leadership in Environmental, Energy, and Economic Performance, challenges federal agencies to lead by example to create a clean energy economy. Most recently, a June 2010 presidential memo- randum directs federal agencies to accelerate efforts to identify and eliminate excess properties for the purpose of eliminating wasteful spending, saving energy and water, and further reducing greenhouse gas emissions.5 3 Operating costs include recurring maintenance and repair costs, utilities, cleaning and/or janitorial costs, and roads and grounds costs (GSA, 2010). 4 When reporting annual operating costs for leased assets, agencies report the full annual lease costs, including base and operating rent, plus any additional government operating expenses (recurring maintenance and repair costs; utilities; cleaning and/or janitorial costs; roads/ground expenses) not covered in the lease contract. 5 Available at http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/presidential-memorandum-disposing-unneeded-federal-real-estate. Accessed Feb- ruary 28, 2011.
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12 ACHIEVING HIGH-PERFORMANCE FEDERAL FACILITIES FIGURE 1.2 The federal government owns many types of buildings for conducting its missions and programs for the public. From top: Byron Rogers Courthouse, Denver, Colorado; Internal Revenue Service building, Kansas City, Missouri; satellite fig 1-2.eps operations facility, Suitland, Maryland; Library of Congress; U.S. Capitol; White House; Udvar-Hazy Air and Space Museum bitmap Annex, Fairfax, Virginia; Arts and Industries Building, Washington, D.C.
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13 CONTEXT TABLE 1.1 Federal Buildings by Predominant Use and Square Footage as Reported for Fiscal Year 2009 Predominant Use Square Feet in Millions Office 740.8 Warehouses 460.4 Service 416.2 Family housing 364.9 Barracks/dormitories 271.2 Schools 251.7 Other institutional uses 221.4 All remaining usesa 612.8 Total square feet 3,339.4 aAll remaining uses include prisons and detention centers, hospi- tals, laboratories, industrial, communication systems, museums, and post offices. SOURCE: GSA, 2010. All Remaining, 18% Office, 22% Office Warehouses Other Institutional Service Uses, 7% Family Housing Barracks Warehouses, Schools, 8% Schools 14% Other Institutional All Remaining Barracks, 8% Service, 12% Family Housing, 11% FIGURE 1.3 Federal buildings by predominant use in square feet as reported for fiscal year 2009. SOURCE: GSA, 2010. All remaining uses include prisons and detention centers, hospitals, laboratories, industrial, communication systems, museums, and post offices. fig 1-3.eps EISA also established the Office of Federal High-Performance Green Buildings within the GSA. As the GSA’s green building center of excellence and the federal government’s high-performance building thought leader and catalyst, the office “strategically facilitates the adoption of integrated sustainable practices, technologies and behaviors to accelerate the achievement of a zero environmental footprint.” 6 6 From GSA Web site, http://www.gsa.gov/portal/category/101107. Accessed February 28, 2011.
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14 ACHIEVING HIGH-PERFORMANCE FEDERAL FACILITIES STATEMENT OF TASK In 2010, GSA’s Office of Federal High-Performance Green Buildings asked the National Academies to appoint an ad hoc committee of experts to conduct a public workshop and prepare a report that iden- tifies strategies and approaches for achieving a range of objectives associated with high-performance green federal buildings. To meet its charge, the committee was also asked to identify • Challenges, barriers, and gaps in knowledge related to developing high-performance green federal buildings. • Current best practices and ways to optimize resources for achieving high-performance green building objectives during planning, design and construction, and operations and maintenance for new and existing facilities. • Best practices for reporting the outcomes of investments in high-performance green federal buildings in a transparent manner on public, federal Web sites. • Approaches, tools, and technologies for overcoming identified challenges, barriers, and gaps in knowledge. The nine members of the committee have wide-ranging backgrounds in government, industry, and academia and expertise in architecture, engineering, land use planning, facilities program management, construction management, building and energy technologies, and performance measurement (see Appen- dix A for committee members’ biographies). THE COMMITTEE’S APPROACH In determining how to fulfill its broad statement of task, the committee recognized that fed- eral agencies have already published other reports and papers, and have created databases and tools related to various aspects of high-performance green buildings. Among these are Greening Federal Facilities: An Energy, Environmental, and Economic Resource Guide for Federal Facility Managers and Designers (DOE, 2001), the Federal Research and Development Agenda for Net-Zero Energy, High- Performance Green Buildings (NSTC, 2008), the Whole Building Design Guide (www.wbdg.org), the High-Performance Federal Buildings Web site (http://femp.buildinggreen.com/), the Energy Star (www. energystar.gov) and WaterSense (http://www.epa.gov/WaterSense) programs for efficient equipment, appliances, and fixtures, the electronic product environmental assessment tool (http://www.epa.gov/epp/ pubs/products/epeat.htm), the Building Energy Software Tools Directory (http://apps1.eere.energy.gov/ buildings/tools_directory/), and the newly released Sustainable Facilities Tool (http://www.sftool.org/). In addition, many initiatives are under way within federal agencies and other public- and private-sector organizations, universities, not-for-profit, and community groups, across the country and internationally. To try to capture all of the valuable and thought-provoking ideas, lessons learned, and evidence-based data from these initiatives in three 2-day meetings would not be possible. The committee determined it would focus on identifying examples of important initiatives taking place and available resources and how these examples and resources could be used to help make sus- tainability the preferred choice at all levels of decision making. In this way, the report could also be of value to federal agencies with differing missions, types of facilities, and operating procedures: It would be up to the individual agencies to adapt the approaches to their situations. The committee also decided not to spend significant time researching challenges, barriers, and gaps in knowledge for achieving high-performance green buildings because most are well known and well documented. Nor would it recommend changes to the budget process or other obstacles, which would be outside the scope of this study.
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15 CONTEXT Instead, the committee identified “levers of change,” defined as “areas where federal agencies can leverage their resources to spur transformational actions and to make sustainability the preferred choice at all levels of decision making.” The levers included systems-based thinking; portfolio-based facilities management; integrated work processes; procurement and finance; communication and feedback for behavioral change; standards and guidelines; and technologies and tools. The levers support an overall life-cycle perspective and can be used in all phases of building design, operation, and management. The levers were chosen, in part, because they can be used immediately by federal agencies to overcome existing challenges and barriers, to achieve objectives related to high-performance buildings, and to support their missions and programs. A second part of the committee’s charge was to “identify current best practices and ways to optimize available resources for achieving high-performance green building objectives.” The term “best practice” has been defined differently by different groups and for differing purposes. By some definitions a practice can only be classified as a best practice after it has been used by a variety of organizations over time and has been well documented. Building commissioning, for example, is a well-recognized, well-documented best practice for ensuring that building systems and components are operating as originally designed. However, new practices, technologies, tools, and processes related to high-performance green build- ings are continuously emerging. For this reason, the committee defined best practices more broadly as “processes, procedures, or technologies that optimize available resources and could be effectively applied by the GSA and other federal agencies to meet similar objectives.” The committee believed that agencies might lose opportunities to leapfrog ahead to fulfill their mandates if the committee only recommended well-documented best practices with a history of proven results. At its first meeting, the committee gathered background information on various mandates related to federal high-performance green buildings. The committee also held discussions with staff from the GSA’s Office of Federal High-Performance Green Buildings, the Building Technology Research and Development Subcommittee of the National Science and Technology Council, and the Office of the Federal Environmental Executive (see Appendix B for list of committee meetings and speakers). The committee’s second meeting included the public workshop held on the afternoon of July 20, 2010, and on July 21, 2010. The levers of change were used to help structure the agenda. The committee invited speakers representing organizations and groups that had been early adopters of sustainable prac- tices for buildings, installations, and communities. The committee chose the topics of the presentations based on its members’ own knowledge and expertise with respect to on-going initiatives; it hoped to show how the levers of change could be implemented. Due to the amount of time available, the number of speakers who could be invited was limited. Many other examples of sustainable initiatives and prac- tices are equally deserving of recognition and study by federal agencies and others. More than 60 practitioners from public agencies, industry, and academia participated in the workshop and shared their expertise, experiences, and ideas during the breakout sessions (see Appendix C for work- shop agenda and participants). The committee also attended the White House Clean Energy Forum on Fed- eral Leaders and Sustainable Building on the morning of July 20, 2010 (information available at http://www. whitehouse.gov/blog/2010/07/21/clean-energy-economy-forum-federal-leaders-and-sustainable- building). At its third and final meeting in November 2010, the committee heard from several additional speakers representing the Department of State, the Department of Defense, the GSA, the Oberlin, Ohio Project, and the developer of a new tool for life-cycle assessment of supply chains. Some of the presentations are summarized in Appendixes D through I. The summaries provide more context and detail about specific initiatives and should be read as an integral part of this report. Chapter 2 focuses on the numerous objectives associated with federal high-performance green build- ings and identifies challenges, barriers, and obstacles for achieving those objectives.
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