Although federal agencies are reconsidering using LEED as the primary green building standard on government projects, the number of completed federal LEED-certified projects surged from 544 in 2011 to 821 for the first eight months of 2012 — a nearly 51% increase. The government has certified 277 projects so far in 2012 — more than the 268 certified in all of 2011.
One reason for the progress on green projects is that feds have developed more know-how in planning and building sustainable facilities, a USGBC official said. Agencies and the private sector both have learned to incorporate green building techniques in their standard designs and construction.
GSA and the Energy Department are reviewing whether to stick with LEED as the government’s primary green building measuring stick, move to some other certification standard, or perhaps adopt more than one standard. Other possible standards include the Green Building Initiative’s Green Globes system and the International Living Building Challenge. A decision is expected this fall.
The Energy Department has avoided picking one certification standard so far. In 2010, it proposed a rule that would allow agencies to use any third-party standard that met Energy Department criteria.
LEED may still figure prominently in federal construction in future years. In a March assessment, GSA gave its highest marks to LEED standards for evaluating renovations of existing buildings, while the Green Globes certification came out ahead when evaluating new construction of federal facilities.