Federal government embraces green building and energy efficiency, gives itself pat on back

David Winstead, commissioner of the US General Service Administration (GSA) Public Buildings Service (PBS), contributed an article in the latest issue of CoreNet’s The Leader magazine.  Entitled Sustainability and Energy Efficiency: The Government’s Landlord Leads by Example, Winstead writes about the myriad accomplishments of the GSA in sustainable design, construction and operations across its massive portfolio of 350 million square feet of space.  For those of you who don’t know, the General Services Administration serves as an effective landlord for many bodies and agencies of the federal government.  The article provides a fair share of “horn-tooting”, but with good reason, as the GSA operates its buildings using less energy than comparable buildings in the private sector and has to represent the best interests of its constituents, like you and me.

One thing I like about Winstead’s article layout is that he breaks the article up logically by topic, moving from the big picture into federal building construction, followed by existing federal buildings, leased buildings, and energy management practices.  Each section explores the unique challenges that the GSA faced in implementing green practices or attaining LEED certification, providing insight and practical ideas for the corporate real estate professional with assets or issues in each category.  I also appreciate that Winstead shares the GSA’s “Guiding Principles for Federal Leadership in High-Performance and Sustainable Buildings” – though quite a verbose title, the principles the title represents are invaluable to anyone trying to be a steward to the environment while being a fiduciary to their business:

  • Employ integrated design principles
  • Optimize energy performance
  • Protect and conserve water
  • Enhance indoor environmental quality
  • Reduce environmental impact of materials

Take a moment to read the article.  When your brain is full, come back here and provide your own thoughts.  What did you learn from the article?  What “green” practices are you exploring or implementing within your real estate department or portfolio?


One Response

  1. Government are heavy users of office IT, which makes a significant contribution to a building’s carbon emissions thru power consumption and heat out put (which increases the load on aircon). Many public sector organisations here in the UK are reviewing how sustainable IT can be married with sustainable building designs. Read about this here


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