Review of green standards could unseat LEED on federal and military building projects

June 19, 2012 |
Dwight Perkins

Three key federal agencies—General Services Administration, Department of Defense, and Department of Energy—are reexamining green building standards for the government. At issue is which of three standards, LEED, The Green Building Initiative’s Green Globes, and the International Living Future Institute’s Living Building Challenge, or a new government-made standard, will guide federal construction.

Since 2003, the GSA, the “landlord” of the federal government, has required that construction adhere to LEED. A review in 2006 identified LEED Gold as the benchmark for new construction, but that decision may not stand after the current review. A GSA official for sustainability and green building programs says the GSA could propose the development of an in-house certification rather than choose one of the three independent standards.

Meanwhile, the Department of Defense is studying the cost-effectiveness of the use of external certification programs, including LEED and Green Globes, with the help of the National Academies of Science. The study is required under the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act and will be completed in the fall.

An interagency group, composed of the GSA, the DoD, and the Department of Energy, will make recommendations on appropriate green standards for new federal construction and renovations. The group could even recommend one system for new construction and another for existing buildings.

At this point, Green Globes reportedly aligns most closely with the federal government’s 27 new construction requirements, which cover areas such as water efficiency, ventilation, and on-site renewable energy. LEED appears to be most applicable for existing buildings based on current federal criteria.


NOTE:This information is the opinion of the author/blogger and not the official position of IAPMO.

Dwight Perkins | Codes and Standards

Dwight Perkins is the Senior Director of Field Operations for the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO) and orchestrates the code adoption efforts of 11 other IAPMO Field Service regions as well as directly working with the state code agencies in Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada and Oregon. Mr. Perkins has more than 35 years experience in the plumbing industry starting as an Apprentice in Alaska moving through the ranks to become a Journeyman Plumber and Business Manager of with UA Local 262. Prior to joining IAPMO, Perkins served in the City and Borough of Juneau Assembly while worked as Deputy Commissioner for the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development. He is extremely familiar with the demands jurisdictions face on a daily basis and he is particularly well suited to address those needs. Mr. Perkins may be contacted at IAPMO at 503-982-1193 or email

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