STRATEGIES AND APPROACHES FOR TRANSFORMATIONAL CHANGE
Committee on High-Performance Green Federal Buildings: Strategies and Approaches for
Meeting Federal Objectives
Board on Infrastructure and the Constructed Environment
Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences
NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL
OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES
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NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance.
This report was primarily supported by Sponsor Award No. XW001-XW994 between the National Academy of Sciences and the U.S. General Services Administration. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the organizations or agencies that provided support for the project.
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COMMITTEE ON HIGH-PERFORMANCE GREEN FEDERAL BUILDINGS: STRATEGIES AND APPROACHES FOR MEETING FEDERAL OBJECTIVES
DAVID J. NASH, Chair, MELE Associates, Inc., Vienna, Virginia
ROBERT BERKEBILE, BNIM Architects, Kansas City, Missouri
HILLARY BROWN, New Civic Works, New York, New York
VIVIAN LOFTNESS, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
JAMES B. PORTER, JR., Sustainable Operations Solutions, LLC, Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania
HARRY G. ROBINSON III, TRG Consulting, Washington, D.C.
ARTHUR H. ROSENFELD, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (emeritus), Berkeley, California
E. SARAH SLAUGHTER, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge
CLYDE B. TATUM, Stanford University, Stanford, California
LYNDA STANLEY, Study Director, Board on Infrastructure and the Constructed Environment (BICE)
LYNETTE I. MILLETT, Senior Program Officer, Computer Science and Telecommunications Board
HEATHER LOZOWSKI, Financial Associate, BICE
RICKY WASHINGTON, Administrative Coordinator, BICE
BOARD ON INFRASTRUCTURE AND THE CONSTRUCTED ENVIRONMENT
DAVID J. NASH, Chair, MELE Associates Inc., Vienna, Virginia
ADJO A. AMEKUDZI, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta,
ALFREDO H.-S. ANG, University of California, Irvine
JESUS de la GARZA, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg
G. BRIAN ESTES, U.S. Navy (retired), Williamsburg, Virginia
PETER MARSHALL, U.S. Navy (retired), Norfolk, Virginia
JAMES B. PORTER, Jr., Sustainable Operations Solutions, LLC, Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania
DAVID A. SKIVEN, Engineering Society of Detroit Institute, Detroit, Michigan
DEBORAH SLATON, Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc., Northbrook, Illinois
E. SARAH SLAUGHTER, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge
DENNIS CHAMOT, Acting Director
LYNDA STANLEY, Senior Program Officer
HEATHER LOZOWSKI, Financial Associate
RICKY WASHINGTON, Administrative Coordinator
LAURA TOTH, Program Assistant
Buckminster Fuller once said, “The best way to predict the future is to design it.” If the United States is to meet the challenges of global climate change, energy security, and environmental sustainability, an essential element for doing so is the design and retrofit of buildings.
The numbers are well known. Buildings account for almost 40 percent of primary energy use in the United States, 12 percent of total water use, and 60 percent of all nonindustrial waste. In addition, the indoor environmental quality of buildings affects the health, safety, and productivity of the people who occupy them.
In recognition of these impacts, building design and management, building technologies, and tools for analysis and decision-support are evolving. Today it is possible to create “high-performance” buildings: buildings that are more environmentally sustainable, that support occupant health, safety, and productivity, and that are cost-effective throughout their life cycles.
The U.S. federal government has the opportunity, and the responsibility, to significantly improve the performance of its buildings and to lead the way for other large organizations to do the same. Today, the government owns or leases 429,000 buildings worldwide, containing 3.34 billion square feet of space. Congress and two presidential administrations have enacted legislation and issued executive orders aimed at transforming the existing portfolio of federal buildings into one of high-performance facilities. In addition to achieving significant environmental benefits, such a transformation will result in long-term reductions in operations, maintenance, and life-cycle costs. Given these factors, the question now is not “Why should the federal government develop high-performance buildings as a matter of course?” Instead, federal decision makers at all levels and in all agencies should be required to justify why they would continue to construct and retrofit buildings in conventional ways.
In 2010, the U.S. General Services Administration’s (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 identifies strategies and approaches for achieving a range of objectives associated with federal high-performance green buildings.
The committee conducted the workshop in July 2010. The speakers included early adopters of transformational strategies for achieving a sustainable built environment. They identified regional, local,
and international initiatives involving federal agencies, municipalities, states, and universities. More than 60 practitioners from the public, private, and nonprofit sectors and academia participated in the workshop and gave generously of their time and knowledge. The committee was especially impressed by the number of federal agencies represented at the workshop and their enthusiastic support for the subject. Their ideas and others are integrated into this report.
Chapter 1, “Context,” focuses on trends in building design, operations, and management, provides statistics and other background information on federal facilities, and discusses the committee’s approach for fulfilling its statement of task.
Chapter 2, “Objectives and Challenges Associated with Federal High-Performance Green Buildings,” identifies many of the objectives related to federal high-performance green buildings as established by legislation, executive orders, and other mandates. Long-standing, well-documented challenges and obstacles that hinder achievement of the established objectives are also discussed.
Chapter 3, “Levers of Change,” identifies areas where federal agencies can leverage their resources to spur transformational actions and make sustainability the preferred choice at all levels of decision making. The “levers of change” relate to all phases of buildings’ life cycles and can be immediately used by federal agencies to overcome the identified challenges and barriers.
Chapter 4, “Best Practices, Tools, and Technologies for Transformational Change,” highlights a range of practices, tools, and technologies identified at the public workshop and throughout the course of this activity. It highlights ways that federal agencies can achieve objectives associated with federal high-performance green buildings.
Chapter 5, “Strategies and Approaches for Achieving a Range of Objectives Associated with High-Performance Federal Facilities,” synthesizes the committee’s findings and conclusions from Chapters 1 to 4 into 12 wide-ranging strategies and approaches for achieving a range of objectives associated with high-performance green federal facilities.
Appendixes D through I contain write-ups of many of the presentations given to the committee that provide practical and inspirational examples for creating more sustainable facilities. Although some of these examples are highlighted in the main body of the report, readers are urged to delve into the appendixes for additional context and ideas.
The committee thanks the following people whose presentations are the source for many of the best practices cited in the report: Hal Alguire, Jeffrey Baker, Robert Berkebile, Peter Garforth, Thomas Hall, Christopher Juniper, Greg Kats, William Miner, Mark Mykleby, Greg Norris, David Orr, and Roland Risser.
The committee was impressed by the enlightened approach taken by GSA’s Office of Federal High-Performance Green Buildings and thanks Kevin Kampschroer, Katherine “Joni” Teter, Michael Bloom, and Ken Sandler for their insights and assistance throughout. Additional leadership and valuable assistance were provided by Shyam Sunder, Dale Manty, and Paul Domich of the Building Technology Research and Development Subcommittee of the National Science and Technology Council and by Michelle Moore of the Office of the Federal Environmental Executive.
For me, it was an honor and a privilege to work with the other members of the committee. Each person was a recognized expert in his or her field. Each volunteered his or her time and expertise as a public service and melded a large and varied set of information together to produce this report.
As a group, the committee believes that the time is now to move forward aggressively to create a portfolio of high-performance federal facilities. Federal agencies have the required tools, technologies,
and knowledge. Effective implementation requires conscientious, directional, and strategic decision making at every level of government. Success will require leadership, a willingness to use collaborative approaches to overcome conventional thinking, and sustained commitment over several decades. The result will be a higher quality of life and a higher-quality environment.
David J. Nash, Chair
Committee on High-Performance Green Federal Buildings:
Strategies and Approaches for Meeting Federal Objectives
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Acknowledgment of Reviewers
The authoring committee acknowledges the significant contributions made by the workshop participants, all of whom willingly and enthusiastically volunteered their time and ideas.
This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the National Research Council’s Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their review of this report:
Jonathan Barnett, University of Pennsylvania,
Carmine Battafarano, Burns and Roe Services Corporation,
Bill Browning, Terrapin/Bright Green LLC,
Michael Johnson, University of Arkansas,
Matthys Levy, Weidlinger Associates (emeritus),
Annie Pearce, Virginia Tech,
Chris Poland, Degenkolb Engineers,
Maxine Savitz, Honeywell Inc. (retired), and
Alan Shimada, ENVIRON, Inc.
Although the reviewers listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions or recommendations, nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Richard N. Wright, National Institute of Standards and Technology (retired). Appointed by the National Research Council, he was responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring committee and the institution.
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