required agencies to reduce their water intensity (gallons per square foot) by 2 percent each year through fiscal year (FY) 2015, for a total of 16 percent reduction below water consumption in 2007. Federal agencies must also ensure that 15 percent of the existing federal capital asset building inventory of each agency incorporates the sustainable practices outlined in “Guiding Principles for Federal Leadership in High Performance and Sustainable Buildings” (hereinafter called the Guiding Principles; reprinted in Appendix E) by the end of FY 2015. The Guiding Principles are the following:

  1. Employ Integrated Design Principles;
  2. Optimize Energy Performance;
  3. Protect and Conserve Water;
  4. Enhance Indoor Environmental Quality; and
  5. Reduce Environmental Impact of Materials.

To meet the various mandates, DOD has undertaken a wide-ranging set of activities to make their facilities more sustainable, as outlined in the Department of Defense Strategic Sustainability Performance Plan for FY 2011 (DOD, 2010). These activities address issues such as renewable energy, the vulnerability of the electrical grid, chemicals of environmental concern, water resources management, the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, and the research and development of new technologies. Some initiatives relate to individual buildings, such as those aimed at developing net-zero-energy buildings by 2030. Others take advantage of the size and single ownership of DOD installations, which allows for large-scale, systems-based approaches involving both infrastructure systems and clusters of buildings and 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. Larger-scale planning for energy systems and for the use of renewable sources of energy also has implications for resiliency during disasters, which is a primary consideration for the 24/7 operations of DOD.

Mandates related to federal high-performance buildings call for the use of a life-cycle perspective or life-cycle costing. A life-cycle perspective involves consideration of all phases of a building’s life cycle: programming/planning, design, construction, operations, maintenance and repair, retrofit, and demolition or deconstruction (Figure 2.1).

Life-cycle costing for buildings focuses on the integrated costs and performance of all building components, from planning through construction, through operations, repairs, replacements, and renovations, through disposal.

Federal agencies began using green building certification systems when those systems were being developed and tested in the late 1990s (Wang et al., 2012). The 2003 report The Federal Commitment to Green Building: Experiences and Expectations (OFEE, 2003) noted that the Office of Management and Budget’s Circular A-11 encouraged agencies to incorporate ENERGY STAR®1 or LEED into designs for new buildings and major renovations. In 2003, nine federal agencies, including the General Services Administration (GSA), the Navy, and the Air Force, were using LEED or a similar system for new projects; eight federal buildings were LEED certified and 60 additional federal buildings were undergoing LEED certification (OFEE, 2003).

The Army took a different approach, developing a self-assessment tool called the Sustainable Project Rating Tool (SPiRiT) to help installations and designers quantify and measure the sustainability of infrastructure projects and military construction and repair projects. SPiRiT was first published in


1 ENERGY STAR® is a voluntary labeling program designed to identify and promote energy efficient products to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. More information is available at

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