The Department of Defense (DOD), the military services—the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Army, U.S. Marines, and U.S. Navy—and other DOD components own and operate more than one-half million facilities (299,000 buildings and 211,000 additional structures) (GSA, 2012) in the United States and abroad. Those facilities support defense-related missions and programs by providing working and living environments for more than 2.3 million military and civilian employees (DOD, 2010) and the infrastructure required to support warfighting and peacekeeping activities. Most DOD structures are located on military installations that function much like small cities in terms of land mass, number and diversity of building types, and range of activities.
How well buildings perform in terms of energy and water use, indoor environmental quality, and total cost affects the capacity of DOD and the military services to achieve their missions on a routine basis and during disasters. Energy and water must be available to support the operations of the buildings used by DOD’s civilian and military personnel and their families to support everyday functions and to provide for continuity of services in crisis situations. At the same time, funds spent to pay for energy, water, and buildings in general are funds that are not available to purchase weaponry and other equipment that is more directly associated with fulfillment of DOD’s missions. Building performance also has effects on the environment, the health and safety of building occupants, the federal budget, and taxpayers. Overall, DOD and the military services spend approximately $15 billion annually to operate and maintain their buildings (GSA, 2012). Of this total, approximately $3.4 billion is spent on energy to power, heat, and cool buildings and equipment, including computers. The amount of energy used equals about 1 percent of the nation’s site-delivered energy (Robyn, 2012). Finding ways to use less energy and water, and to operate its buildings more efficiently, can allow DOD to also operate more cost-effectively.
Recognizing the magnitude of the investment in federal buildings and the effects of buildings on resource use and the environment,1 Congress and several presidential administrations have enacted laws and issued executive orders to reduce the energy and water use of federal facilities, reduce operating costs, and reduce the total amount of square footage (overall footprint) owned and operated by federal agencies (Table 1.1). The laws and executive orders also include objectives for improving indoor environmental quality and worker productivity and objectives related to transportation and land use.
Each mandate calls for the use of a life-cycle perspective or life-cycle costing, establishes goals and objectives, and establishes baselines and performance measures for evaluating progress in achieving the goals. A life-cycle perspective requires evaluating a building’s performance through several different phases: initial programming, design, and construction; occupancy/operations and maintenance; renewal; and decommissioning/demolition. A focus on the life-cycle costs of a building is important for effective decision-making, because once a building is in use, the investment made in operating, maintaining, repairing, and renewing it will be six to eight times greater than the design and construction costs (often referred to as first costs) (NRC 1998; 2012a).
The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA 2007; Public Law 110-40) defines a high-performance building as one that during its life cycle, as compared with similar buildings (as measured by Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey (CBECS) data from the Energy Information Agency, has the following characteristics:
(A) Reduces energy, water, and material resource use;
(B) Improves indoor environmental quality, including reducing indoor pollution, improving thermal comfort, and improving lighting and acoustic environments that affect occupant health and productivity;
(C) Reduces negative impacts on the environment throughout the life cycle of the building, including air and water pollution and waste generation;
(D) Increases the use of environmentally preferable products, including bio-based, recycled content, and nontoxic products with lower life-cycle impacts;
(E) Increases reuse and recycling opportunities;
(F) Integrates systems in the building;
(G) Reduces the environmental and energy impacts of transportation through building location and site design that support a full range of transportation choices for users of the building; and
(H) Considers indoor and outdoor effects of the building on human health and the environment, including improvements in worker productivity, the life-cycle impacts of building materials and operations, and other factors considered to be appropriate.2
Executive Order 13423 requires that new federal buildings and major renovations comply with the Guiding Principles for Federal Leadership in High-Performance and Sustainable Buildings (see Appendix E).
Ever-increasing knowledge about the impacts of indoor environments on people and the impacts of buildings on the environment has led to new processes and tools for measuring and evaluating
1 The federal government as a whole manages 399,000 buildings with a total square footage of 3.35 billion square feet and an additional 490,000 structures. The annual operating cost for these facilities is estimated at $31 billion (GSA, 2012).
2 The terms high-performance buildings, green buildings, and sustainable buildings are often used interchangeably. In this report high performance refers to buildings specifically called out as meeting the EISA standard. Green is a more inclusive term used to indicate build ings that are designed to be highly energy efficient, to meet green building certification systems, or to be otherwise regarded as sustainable.
|Drivers||Date||Description and Requirements|
|Energy Policy Act Public Law 109-58||2005||Defines goals and standards for reducing energy use in existing and new federal buildings. Requires a 20% reduction in energy consumption by 2015, relative to a 2003 baseline. Sets an energy consumption target for new federal buildings of 30% below existing standards. Requires application of sustainable-design principles to new and replacement federal buildings. Establishes ENERGY STAR® labeling program.|
|Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA), Public Law 110-140||2007||Establishes goals and criteria for high-performance green federal buildings. Increases the overall rate of required reduction in total energy consumption of federal buildings in each agency to 30% by 2015 (relative to 2003 baseline). Requires new buildings and major renovations to reach a 65% reduction in energy use by 2015 and zero-net energy use by 2030. Requires the identification and use of a green building certification system for new buildings and major renovations. Sets general water-conservation guidelines and storm-water runoff requirements for property development.|
|Federal Buildings Personnel Training Act of 2010, Public Law 111-308||2010||Requires that General Services Administration (GSA) identify core competencies necessary for federal building personnel performing buildings operations and maintenance, energy management, safety, and design functions; including competencies related to building operations and maintenance, energy management, sustainability, water efficiency, safety, and building performance measures. Also requires GSA to identify appropriate training related to the competencies.|
|Executive Order 13423||2007||Requires a 16% reduction in water use by agencies by 2015. Establishes as a basis for new construction the Guiding Principles for Federal Leadership in High Performance and Sustainable Buildings (see Appendix E). All new construction and major renovations to comply with Guiding Principles and by fiscal year (FY) 2015 at least 15% of existing buildings to comply.|
|Executive Order 13514||2009||
Requires agencies to measure, manage, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions toward agency-defined targets, including:
|Memorandum on Installation Energy Policy Goals for the Department of Defense (Philip W. Grone)||2005||30% reduction of facility generated greenhouse gases by 2010 relative to 1990 base. Annual energy and water audits for 10% of the facilities on an installation. Water Management Plans with best management practices on 30% of its facilities by 2006, 50% by 2008 and 80% by 2010. Expansion of renewable energy use within its facilities with 5% goal by 2012 and 7.5% by 2013.|
|National Defense Authorization Act||2007||Requires that 25% of total DOD electricity come from renewable sources by 2025.|
|Memorandum on DOD Sustainable Buildings Policy (Dorothy Robyn)||2010||DOD components to design and build and certify as appropriate all new construction projects at a minimum to LEED-Silver (or equal). Beginning in FY2012 for projects in the planning stage, the sum of energy and water efficiency credits shall equal or exceed 40% of the points required for a LEED-Silver (or equal) rating. DOD components will design, execute, and certify major repair/renovation projects to be LEED-Silver, at a minimum, where appropriate. DOD components shall incorporate life-cycle and cost/benefit analysis into design decisions for new construction and renovation/repair projects.|
|SOURCE: Adapted from Tylock et al. (2012).|
how buildings perform throughout their life cycles. A distinguishing factor of high-performance or green buildings is a design philosophy that seeks to improve the performance of the building as a whole, taking into account the interrelationships of building materials, systems, and operating practices. Overall, the goal is to design and operate buildings that meet multiple objectives related to land use, transportation, energy and water efficiency, indoor environmental quality, and other factors. This is in contrast with more conventional design processes that typically treat building systems, materials, and other factors separately, which can result in suboptimal performance overall. At the same time, greater knowledge about buildings has also led to the development of new technologies that can reduce energy and water use, improve lighting, and improve the comfort of building occupants.
Recognizing that the effective design and operation of high-performance buildings requires well-trained and skilled facilities managers, Congress enacted the Federal Buildings Personnel Training Act of 2010. The act directs the administrator of the General Services Administration (GSA) to work with relevant professional societies and others to identify the core competencies necessary for federal personnel responsible for building operations and maintenance, energy management, sustainability, water efficiency, safety (including electrical safety, and building performance measures). The GSA is also charged with identifying certification programs, licenses, registrations, and other training programs to ensure that federal personnel can demonstrate the required competencies. A set of core competencies and associated training programs have been developed and are now posted at http://fmi.knowledgeportal.us/. The head of the GSA’s Office of Federal High-Performance Green Buildings and the head of the Department of Energy’s Office of Commercial High-Performance Green Buildings are also charged with developing a recommended curriculum relating to facility management and the operation of high-performance buildings.
To aid in the design and efficient operation of high-performance or green buildings, nonprofit organizations have developed building standards and green building certification systems. Typically, building standards establish minimum requirements developed through consensus processes (for example, American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers [ASHRAE] Energy Standard 90.1-2010 for Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential). Building standards are designed to be adopted by state and local governments into their building codes.
Green building certification systems differ from building standards in that they typically take a “whole building” approach. They also provide a series of increasingly stringent levels of certification to measure the overall “greenness” of individual buildings, for example, how well they meet objectives for land use, water use, and other green building-related factors. Higher certification levels are achieved by the accumulation of a greater number of credits in specific categories, such as water and energy use. The level of “greenness” achieved is verified by an independent third-party entity. Certification programs have emerged “over the past 15 years as a way to differentiate environmental or socially preferable products from their conventional alternatives” (NRC, 2010, p. 3). Such systems are voluntary, not regulatory. Today, there are more than 12 separate green building certification systems used worldwide (IFMA, 2010).3
The two systems that are most commonly used in the United States and in the federal government are the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC’s) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) and Green Globes, which is licensed by the Green Building Initiative (GBI). The LEED and
3 In this report, only the LEED and Green Globes green building certification systems are discussed because they were the only two systems specifically identified in the statement of task.
Green Globes systems have both developed a series of certification levels. LEED levels include Certification, Silver, Gold, and Platinum. Green Globes’ levels include one, two, three, and four green globes. Both systems have also developed different programs tailored to new construction/major renovations and existing buildings. LEED also has programs for different types of buildings and groups of buildings, and streamlined processes for the certification of 25 or more buildings of the same type (LEED Volume certification).
In practice, there is not a clear delineation between the use of building standards and green building certification systems. For example, ASHRAE 90.1 is incorporated by reference into ASHRAE 189.1, LEED, and Green Globes. ASHRAE Standard 189.1-2011, unlike most building standards, addresses the entire building and all of its systems. In addition, a version of the Green Globes certification system has been accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).
EISA 2007 required the Secretary of Energy, in consultation with the Administrator of the GSA and the Secretary of Defense, to identify a certification system and level for green buildings that the Secretary determines to be the most likely to encourage a comprehensive and environmentally sound approach to certification of green buildings. The level of certification to be identified was the “the highest level the secretary determines is appropriate above the minimum level required for certification under the system selected, and shall achieve results at least comparable to the system used by and highest level referenced by the General Services Administration as of the date of enactment of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007” (Section 433, D, III). The secretary may by rule allow federal agencies to develop internal certification processes, using certified professionals (Section 433, D, V). However, an agency using an internal certification system process must continue to obtain external certification by a third-party certifier for at least 5 percent of the total number of buildings certified annually by the agency. EISA 2007 also established a Federal Green Building Advisory Committee within the GSA and required that group to “identify and every 5 years reassess improved or higher rating standards” (Section 436, c).
DOD, similar to other federal agencies, must comply with laws and executive orders related to high-performance buildings. DOD has issued policies and guidance to help ensure compliance with those mandates among its components. Specifically, DOD’s policy is that all new building design and construction and all major renovation projects should conform to the Guiding Principles for Federal Leadership in High Performance and Sustainable Buildings (as outlined in Executive Order 13423) and must meet a LEED-Silver rating or equal at a minimum. Beginning in fiscal year (FY) 2012 for projects in the planning stage, the sum of energy and water efficiency credits must equal or exceed 40 percent of the points required for a LEED-Silver or equivalent rating.
Given the magnitude of the investment in DOD facilities and their importance to the achievement of DOD’s missions, the defense congressional committees have an ongoing interest in ensuring that those facilities are operated effectively in terms of resource use and cost. Section 2830 of the National Defense Authorization Act for 2012 (NDAA 2012) required the Secretary of Defense to submit a report to the congressional defense committees on the energy efficiency and sustainability standards used by DOD for military construction and repair. The report must include a cost-benefit analysis, return on investment, and long-term payback for the following building standards and green building certification systems:
(A) ASHRAE Standard 189.1-2011 for the Design of High-Performance, Green Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential;
(B) ASHRAE Energy Standard 90.1-2010 for Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential;
(C) LEED Silver, Gold, and Platinum certification, as well as the LEED Volume certification; and
(D) Other ANSI-accredited standards.
DOD’s report to the defense congressional committees must also include a copy of the DOD policy prescribing a comprehensive strategy for the pursuit of design and building standards across the department that include specific energy-efficiency standards and sustainable design attributes for military construction based on the cost-benefit analysis, return on investment, and demonstrated payback required for the aforementioned building standards and green building certification systems (subparagraphs A through D).
To obtain independent, objective advice in developing its response to Section 2830 of NDAA 2012, the Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Installations and Environment asked the National Research Council (NRC) to establish an ad hoc committee of experts to undertake three related tasks:
- Conduct a literature review that synthesizes the state-of-the-knowledge about the costs and benefits, return on investment, and long-term payback of specified design standards related to sustainable buildings;
- Evaluate a consultant-generated methodology and analysis of the cost-benefit, return on investment, and long-term payback for specified building design standards and evaluate the consultant’s application of the methodology using empirical data from DOD buildings;
- Identify potential factors and approaches that the DOD should consider in developing a comprehensive strategy for its entire portfolio of facilities that includes standards for energy-efficiency and sustainable design.
The specified design standards to be evaluated are ASHRAE Energy Standard 90.1-2010 for Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential; ASHRAE Standard 189.1-2011 for High-Performance Green Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential; LEED Silver, Gold, Platinum, and Volume Certifications; and other ANSI-accredited standards such as Green Globes.
It became evident at the first committee meeting that the wording of task 2 was not clear in regard to the relationship between the NRC, the DOD, and the consultant, or the work being undertaken by the consultant. For purposes of clarity, the committee notes that the consultant was hired directly by the DOD under a separate contract and the consultant’s report is contained in its entirety in Appendix C.
The DOD consultant’s report developed an analytical approach that included a traditional benefit-cost analysis to calculate long-term benefits and costs, adjusted rate of return on investment, and payback of ASHRAE Standards 90.1-2010 and 189.1-2011 and of the LEED and Green Globes green building certification systems; sensitivity analyses using a range of scenarios that represented uncertainty in future conditions; and a test of the analytical approach using data from DOD buildings to identify issues that might arise if the approach were to be applied in the DOD operating environment.
The committee evaluated the cost-benefit and sensitivity analyses as outlined in task 2. Regarding the consultant’s application of the methodology using empirical data from DOD buildings, it is important to note that the consultant’s purpose was not to conduct a cost-benefit analysis for a sample of DOD buildings but to identify issues that might arise if the proposed analytical approach were to be used by the DOD. Thus, the committee evaluated the potential application of the consultant’s analytical approach to the DOD operating environment.
A clearer description of task 2 would read as follows:
Evaluate a report developed under a separate contract by the DOD consultant that focuses on a methodology and analysis of the cost-benefit, return on investment, and long-term payback for specified building design standards, and evaluate the potential application of the consultant’s analytical approach to the DOD operating environment.
In June 2012 the NRC appointed a seven-member committee of experts from government, industry, and academia to fulfill the three related elements of the statement of task: the Committee to Evaluate Energy-Efficiency and Sustainability Standards Used by the Department of Defense for Military Construction and Repair. The committee members’ expertise included architecture, engineering, construction, facilities management, engineering economics, energy efficiency, building codes and standards, life-cycle costing and assessment, the environment, green building certification systems, and sustainable design (see Appendix A). The committee’s tasks of conducting a literature review and evaluating the DOD consultant’s report were made more complex by several factors, as outlined below.
Difficulty of Measuring Building Performance Objectively
The research on high-performance or green buildings inherently incorporates some level of subjectivity because of the unique nature of buildings, the diversity in baselines for comparison studies, and the lack of a standard protocol for research on this topic.
All buildings differ in terms of location, materials, design, size, function, technologies, operational practices, and other factors, which influence overall building performance. The diversity in building design and the multitude of factors that contribute to any building’s performance make it difficult to isolate the specific factors that contribute to energy use, water use, or other performance measures.
There are no national baselines from which to measure the performance of the multiple factors associated with high-performance or green buildings. Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey (CBECS) is the only national data source of detailed characteristics and energy use of U.S. commercial buildings. EISA 2007 establishes the CBECS as a baseline within the definition of high-performance buildings. However, there are deficiencies in the CBECS database that should be accounted for when generalizing the findings of studies using CBECS data, as detailed in Chapter 3.
There are no national databases for water use, for design and construction costs, operations and maintenance, indoor environmental quality, or worker productivity related to buildings. Baselines for comparing those factors are typically developed differently for individual studies.
Currently, there is no standard protocol for conducting research on high-performance buildings, although some studies do use similar methodologies or evaluation methods. The diversity in building design, the lack of standard definitions for green or conventional buildings, the diversity in baselines, and the lack of a standard research protocol all combine to hinder objective comparisons across studies and to preclude definitive, fully documented findings. The subjectivity inherent in making comparisons across research studies instead requires judgments based on a “preponderance” of evidence.
Recent Release of ASHRAE Building Standards and LEED Volume Certification Program
NDAA 2012 specifically required an evaluation of the costs and benefits associated with the use of ASHRAE Standards 189.1-2011 and 90.1-2010. Given the recent release of those specific standards and the fact that most buildings require 2 to 5 years to design and construct, there are few if any exist-
ing buildings that conform to those versions of the standards. The only information available about the expected performance of buildings constructed to those versions of the standards was based on the same design models that were used in the development of the standards.
The NDAA also required an evaluation of the LEED Volume certification program. The LEED Volume certification program is a relatively new program developed for organizations that plan to certify at least 25 design and construction projects or existing buildings. The program is intended to reduce the time and costs involved with certifying 25 or more buildings by using streamlined processes. As with the ASHRAE standards, there is little experience with the program to date, which necessarily limited the committee’s evaluation.
Continuous Improvement of Building Standards and Green Building Certification Systems and Related Factors
Building standards and green building certification systems are regularly updated to take into account new objectives, techniques, knowledge, and technologies for buildings. As a result, multiple versions of each exist (such as ASHRAE standards 90.1-2001, 90.1-2004, and 90.1-2007 and LEED 1.0, 2.0, 2.2, and 3.0). Research studies that seek to analyze the performance of buildings constructed in accord with the standards or green building certification systems typically do not identify the specific versions of the standards and certification systems, but instead only refer to ASHRAE Standard 90.1 or LEED-certified buildings. Instead, the research typically compares buildings that are defined as green to a sample of conventional buildings. Studies related to LEED-certified buildings typically include buildings constructed under different versions of LEED and meeting a range of certification levels, so even these have great variability. Finally, the inclusion by reference of ASHRAE 90.1 into other building standards and green building certification systems is a confounding factor that makes it difficult to clearly distinguish which specific benefits and costs are attributable to a specific standard or certification system.
Quality, Quantity, and Scope of the Literature
In its review of the literature on high-performance and green buildings, the committee identified hundreds of publications ranging from well-designed, empirical studies to individual case studies to opinion editorials. In some studies, building performance data were based on predictions using simulation models, while other studies presented data on the performance of actual buildings based on utility bills and post-occupancy surveys. Although some of the empirical studies analyzed LEED-certified buildings, none of the empirical studies used Green Globes-certified buildings in the sample. The only data available on the actual performance of Green Globes-certified buildings were individual case studies.
The committee met as a group in Washington, D.C., on June 28 and 29, 2012, and again on September 17 and 18, 2012. At both meetings the committee scheduled presentations from and discussions with DOD staff, the DOD consultant, and representatives of ASHRAE, the USGBC, and the GBI. The audience included representatives from DOD, the military services, other federal agencies, and from nonprofit organizations. Webinars were run to allow staff from DOD and the military services to participate remotely. Public comment sessions were scheduled to allow other interested groups to address the committee and submit written materials. Appendix B contains the list of meetings, invited speakers, and other parties who spoke during the public comment sessions. Between and after its meetings the
committee members communicated with each other by e-mail and conference calls in order to complete their report.
The committee focused on the main purposes of the statement of task but did not have time to conduct extensive additional investigations. Thus, the committee’s report does not evaluate building standards or certification systems that were not specified in the statement of task, describe the various debates about the use of green building certification systems, acknowledge the full array of initiatives underway at DOD, or assess how DOD is complying with various mandates. The committee is aware that federal agencies are using other ASTM building standards and possibly other green building certification systems, such as the Living Building Challenge. DOD’s Sustainability Performance Plan for FY2011 (DOD, 2010) describes the many approaches that DOD and the military services have initiated to reduce their use of energy, water, and fossil fuels and to reduce their production of greenhouse gas emissions, as well as research and development of technologies and the testing of new technologies. The committee is also aware of the public dialog regarding whether it is more effective to have buildings certified by third parties or if self-certification is sufficient and also the controversies related to different materials and products allowed by the LEED and Green Globes green building certification systems. However, many of these issues were outside the scope of the committee’s statement of task and, therefore, are not discussed in any detail in this report.
For the literature review, the committee established the following criteria related to time frame, robustness, and relevancy to determine which publications it would review in detail:
• Time frame. The committee relied on studies published in 2004 or later because the first studies evaluating the incremental costs to design and construct LEED-certified buildings were published in 2004. The first evaluations of a sample of at least six high-performance or green buildings in the United States were published in 2006.
• Robustness. The committee focused on studies with clearly stated objectives, a clearly defined methodology, findings based on empirical data, and a sample size of at least six buildings. The committee relied more heavily on those studies that reported measured results for energy (utility bills) or other factors (post-occupancy evaluations) than on studies that reported modeled or predicted results. A discussion of issues related to the use of measured data, as opposed to modeled data, is contained in Chapter 3.
The committee also relied more heavily on studies based on larger sample sizes and excluded individual case studies. Larger sample sizes can help to eliminate some factors of bias, error, and chance that are prevalent in individual case studies, although those factors may still be present.
• Relevancy to the DOD operating environment. The committee focused on those studies that were most relevant to the DOD operating environment. The research on high-performance or green buildings includes a number of reports that analyze the market and price effects of green versus conventional buildings in terms of rental rates, vacancy rates, turnover ratios, appraised value, and other factors. Those studies have value, particularly to private-sector owners and developers and to federal agencies such as the GSA, which acquires commercial building space for the use of other federal agencies. However, the committee chose not to review those studies in detail because market-related factors are not directly related to DOD, which typically owns and operates buildings for its own use for 30 years or longer.
To evaluate the DOD consultant’s report, the committee reviewed a paper outlining the consultant’s proposed methodology prior to its first meeting. On June 28, 2012, the consultant discussed the proposed methodology with the committee in greater detail. The committee also heard from representatives of ASHRAE, the USGBC, and GBI, who were invited to express concerns that they had about the methodology (they had been provided the same paper as the committee prior to the meeting). On June 29,
2012, the committee provided its comments to the consultant in open session regarding changes that the consultant should consider incorporating into the methodology before embarking on data collection.
At the second meeting in September 2012, the committee was briefed on the consultant’s final methodology, analysis, and findings. The committee received the consultant’s final report at the end of September for an in-depth evaluation. The consultant’s report as it was submitted to the committee is contained in Appendix C.
As a group, the committee developed findings based on the synthesis of the results from the 25 studies reviewed as part of the literature search. Because of the large variation in these studies in terms of sample sizes, building types, baselines, methodologies, and information included, and the confounding factors inherent in research related to high-performance or green buildings, the committee relied on the “preponderance” of evidence to develop its findings.
The committee evaluated the DOD consultant’s report and based its findings on the expertise and experience of its own members and on the literature search. The committee’s recommended approaches for DOD’s consideration as DOD develops its comprehensive strategy for the pursuit of design and building standards, including those for energy efficiency and sustainability, are based on the findings related to the literature review, the evaluation of the DOD consultant’s report, and the committee members’ expertise and experience.