The consultant’s methodology incorporated an analysis of NPV benefits that would result from investments in similar building types in different locations and climatic conditions. Sensitivity analyses were incorporated to test a range of scenarios that represented uncertain future conditions related to discount rates and water and energy prices. To the committee’s knowledge, analyses for different locations and climate zones and sensitivity analysis for uncertain future conditions are not currently required by DOD or other federal regulations when decisions are being made about building investments. The committee believes that the consultant’s analytical approach has merit as one of an array of decision support tools to be used by DOD for evaluating investments in new construction or major renovations of buildings.
The cost categories of data that the consultant sought to measure—incremental construction, energy, water, operations and maintenance, solid waste, and hazardous waste—are appropriate to the DOD operating environment. The categories are reflective of the multiple objectives associated with high-performance buildings, as defined by Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. To the committee’s knowledge, DOD and other federal agencies do not typically measure all of these categories, perhaps because industry baselines have not been established.
The committee is aware that DOD has already instituted policies and practices to reduce its overall energy use, to improve its energy security, and reduce its reliance on outside sources for energy supply during routine and crisis situations. The issues of water supply, water use, and water cost are almost certain to become increasingly important considerations for DOD, with several areas of the country already experiencing water shortages and escalating prices. Operations and maintenance costs account for the majority of life-cycle costs associated with buildings and are critical to cost-effectiveness calculations.
The baseline prototype buildings and the BLCC program used by the consultant are both public data sources that are available to DOD, the military services, and other federal agencies and could potentially serve as a basis for more widespread, collaborative benchmarking of facility performance within and across federal agencies.
Data Sources and Application of Data
The committee has significant concerns about the sources of data available for the DOD consultant’s analyses and the application of those data. The committee recognizes that the consultant had to complete the analysis in less than 4 months and had to rely on data-gathering methods that might not have been used if more time were available; the consultant did, in fact, identify some shortcomings of the data used in the analyses and stated that verifiable, reliable data are required for an effective analysis. Nonetheless, the committee is obligated to point out the shortcomings of the data that were analyzed and their likely effects on the results of the consultant’s analyses.
First, actual incremental construction cost data for both LEED-certified and Green Globes-certified buildings were not available; those certification systems do not require that type of information. To generate the incremental construction cost data, which are essential to calculations of NPV benefits, the consultant used two methods. The total cost of a building that is not LEED-certified or Green Globes-certified (a baseline building) was calculated using square foot data gathered from R.S. Means. For the LEED-certified and Green Globes-certified buildings, the consultant used the actual costs of construction for entire buildings, which were then adjusted based on an assumption that 35 percent of the project costs were attributable to architect and engineering fees and other costs. The committee notes that for the purpose of calculating the cost of energy, water, and green systems, the R.S. Means square foot data cannot be directly compared to the cost of actual buildings, because the R.S. Means data make assumptions about building configurations, while actual buildings have specifics. There can be many