Green Building for US Federal Construction Projects

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United States Department of the Treasury Washington, D.C. Image Credit: Florian Hirzinger via Wikipedia.

In 2009, President Obama spearheaded the movement to utilize green buildings for federal construction projects. This was a call not only to adjust to the nature’s demands but also to save energy and money. The initiative has since then inspired government agencies to take on different ways to obtain green designations, including using wind farms to generate energy, retrofitting courthouses, and using natural lighting and energy-conserving air-conditioning and heating systems.

One of the best recent examples of greening an old building is the US Treasury, which was built in 1836 and has recently been awarded the coveted LEED Gold certification after meeting several standards.

With its efforts, the US Treasury building has saved an estimated $3.5 million annually. The agency reported a 43% decrease in drinkable water use, a 7% decrease in the use of electricity, and an additional 164 work stations for more efficient use of space.

Some of the measures undertaken by the US Treasury that merited the Gold certification include:

  1. The use of natural daylight for decreased energy consumption
  2. The development of advanced heating ventilating and air conditioning systems
  3. The increase of occupant space utilization
  4. Proposing alternative means of transportation.

The federal government spends an estimated $7 billion a year on energy costs. By improving energy use and introducing energy efficiency measures, decreasing use of taxpayer money and increasing health of the workers in the building.

Currently, the General Services Administration (GSA) has a tool for identifying sustainability needs, the www.SFTool.gov, which allows the comparison of options for renovation projects. The site also allows the direct purchase of green building materials.

According to a study by the GSA of 22 green federal buildings, sustainably designed buildings outperformed commercial buildings in energy use. This definitely shows that commercial buildings have reason to ride the ‘green wave’—if only to increase their bottom line.

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1 Response to “Green Building for US Federal Construction Projects”


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