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LEED Rating System Scores Top Rating in GSA Study
It's a conclusion could have a major impact on the growing green building market because the federal government is one of the largest owners and operators of commercial buildings, so the government's endorsement of a particular ranking system could establish a de facto standard for the industry, USGBC says.
The ranking was part of a report submitted to Sen. Christopher Bond (R-MO), who is chairman of an appropriations subcommittee with jurisdiction over GSA's budget.
Federal agencies have also committed to use LEED as the standard for federal buildings, as indicated in GSA's Sept. 15 cover letter to Bond accompanying the report.
The GSA report was conducted under a contract with the U.S. Energy Department's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) for an analysis of five green building rating systems.
In a July report submitted by the laboratory to GSA, "Sustainable Building Rating System Summary," the PNNL researchers compare the following five methods for rating whether a building design and construction is green: 1) Building Research Establishment's Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM); 2) Comprehensive Assessment System for Building Environmental Efficiency (CASBEE); 3) GBTool; 4) Green Globes US; and 5) LEED.
Although each of the rating systems has merits, "Based on the results [of the report], GSA finds that the [USGBC's] LEED rating system continues to be the most appropriate and credible sustainable building rating system available for evaluation of GSA projects."
GSA cites at least several reasons for its conclusions about the LEED system. First, LEED applies to all GSA project types, including new and existing buildings, interiors, and other areas covered by USGBC standards. Second, it "tracks the quantifiable aspects of sustainable design and building performance," a major focus of federal programs under the impetus of the Government Performance and Results Act and a general demand for performance measurement. Third, trained professionals verify LEED. Fourth, it has a "well-defined system for incorporating updates." And fourth, LEED is "the most widely used rating system in the U.S. market," GSA writes.