Federal Agencies Sign Historic Green Building Agreement

March 7, 2007

Last year the U.S. Department of Energy joined 15 other federal agencies and the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) at the White House Summit on Federal Sustainable Buildings in a joint commitment to design and construct sustainable buildings that achieve high energy performance.

The agencies signed a first-of-its kind Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) saying they would strive to adopt a standard set of guiding principles for sustainable buildings that include employing integrated design principles, optimizing energy performance, protecting and conserving water, enhancing indoor environmental quality, and reducing the environmental impact of the building materials. The agencies will aim to achieve ENERGY STAR® targets and energy targets of 30 percent below ASHRAE for new construction and renovation, and will also employ daylighting and incorporate bio-based materials into their buildings.

The agreement will accelerate implementation of common strategies for planning, acquiring, siting, designing, building, operating, and maintaining high performance and sustainable buildings. The MOU also provides guidance and assurance that these goals are implemented in the context of practical, economic, and appropriate timeframes and methods, in line with the agencies' respective missions.

The federal government owns about 500,000 buildings with total floor space of more than 3.0 billion square feet, in addition to leasing an additional 57,000 buildings comprising 374 million square feet of floor space. The signing agencies manage 95 percent of these federal buildings. In discussing the agreement at the Summit, Bryan Hannegan, Chief of Staff for CEQ, said, "Buildings in the United States consume over 37 percent of the nation's primary energy and 68 percent of all electricity. The federal government's size and buying power uniquely positions federal agencies to drive the design and acceptance of environmentally sustainable and energy efficient building components."

At FEMP's Interagency Sustainable Working Group (ISWG) meeting, Ed Piñero, the Federal Environmental Executive, recognized the hard work of the ISWG and thanked them for their commitment and their work over the last two years in developing the MOU. He said the MOU sets measurable goals, makes commitment transparent, and establishes accountability and responsibility. He said another success at the summit was the introduction of the Office of Management and Budget's new draft Executive Management Scorecards for environment, energy, and transportation. The environmental scorecard now includes sustainable design for buildings.

For more information on the Summit proceedings, please visit http://www.fedcenter.gov/calendar/conferences/summit2006. For information on FEMP's Sustainable Design program, please visit www.eere.energy.gov/femp/sustainable/index.html or contact Matt Gray at matthew.gray@ee.doe.gov or 202-586-0067.