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The U.S. General Services Administration now requires LEED Gold certification as a minimum in all new federal building construction and substantial renovation projects. With a portfolio of more than 361 million square feet of space in 9,600 federally owned and leased facilities, GSA's goal is to provide sustainable workspaces for the federal workforce, while being a responsible asset manager using taxpayer dollars wisely.
For projects funded prior to fiscal year 2010 that are in design, GSA is requiring that LEED Gold be incorporated into ongoing designs where possible, after considering budget and schedule constraints on the current design and construction contracts. For GSA's leased properties, the requirement remains at LEED Silver certification for new construction lease projects of 10,000 square feet or more. For leases in existing buildings, LEED for Commercial Interiors is optional, at the request of the tenant agencies.
Announced at Greenbuild 2010, the LEED Automation program enables the LEED Online tool to interact with third-party technology and software companies to make submitting documentation for LEED certification easier for project teams.
LEED Automation provides three key functions for LEED project teams: Automate various LEED documentation processes, deliver customers a unified view of their LEED projects, and standardize LEED content to distribute consistently across multiple technology platforms.
The Center for Green Schools at USGBC is a new initiative from the U.S. Green Building Council that will work toward ensuring that all students have the opportunity to attend a green school within this generation.
The Center creates new resources and advocacy tools to support USGBC Student Groups on college campuses and a network of more than 1,000 Green School Committee professional volunteers. It will also provide training and resources to K-12 schools serving lower-income families, under-resourced institutions and community colleges.
For more information about the Center for Green Schools at USGBC, visit www.centerforgreenschools.org.
Despite the recession, the value of green building construction was up 50 percent from 2008 to 2010, according to McGraw-Hill Construction's Green Outlook 2011: Green Trends Driving Growth report. In 2010, about a third of all non-residential construction was green, the report says. In addition, LEED is mentioned in 71 percent of all projects valued over $50 million.
Building owners cited three business benefits as the main reasons for going green: reduction in operating costs of 13.6 percent in new buildings and 8.5 percent in retrofits, increase in building values of 10.9 percent for new buildings and 6.8 percent for retrofits, and increase in return on investment of 9.9 percent for new buildings and 19.2 percent for retrofits.
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