GSA is implementing sustainable operations and maintenance practices in our portfolio of owned buildings to increase energy efficiency and reduce costs. One of the ways we are doing this is through the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED Volume Program for Operations and Maintenance. Since August, we’ve enrolled 50 properties nationwide in the LEED Volume Program, and it’s providing us with a set of streamlined and consistent ways to measure and improve a building’s environmental performance.
GSA is greening existing buildings to ensure that they use energy and natural resources wisely, which will in turn reduce operational costs and improve indoor air quality. Using the LEED Volume Program, we designed a portfolio-wide approach for documenting our progress to comply with the White House Council on Environmental Quality’s Guiding Principles for Sustainable Existing Buildings.
GSA has achieved a significant milestone under this program; we are the first organization to be precertified for Operations and Maintenance, receiving a Platinum precertification level — the highest possible. Our plan calls for standardized procedures for documenting building performance as well as a training program for building management teams on how to implement green operations and maintenance practices on-site at the building level. This round of 50 buildings is just the beginning, and we hope to enroll more in the future.
The LEED Volume Program is just one of the many tools that GSA is using to make our buildings more sustainable. Over the years, we’ve taken sustainability in building operations to the next level. We’ve installed advanced meters that are decreasing our energy and water consumption, implementing conservation measures, and cutting waste generation across our building portfolio. In 2011, GSA reduced its electricity use by 116,000,000 kilowatt hours from 2010 and its water use by 106 million gallons. Investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy helped GSA reduce greenhouse gas emissions from its buildings by over 20 percent from fiscal year 2008 levels — the equivalent of taking 90,534 passenger cars off the road.
By implementing efficient operations and maintenance practices, GSA is continuing our commitment to providing sustainable public buildings for the American public. We will achieve greater environmental benefits while conserving taxpayer dollars.
Eleni Reed is Chief Greening Officer for GSA’s Public Buildings Service and Larry Melton is the Assistant Commissioner of Facilities Management & Services Programs at GSA’s Public Buildings Service