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The GSA’s Big Green Building Decision Is, Rightfully, A Public One

The GSA is out of the hole. Let them hear you!

The GSA is out of the hole. Let them hear you!

 

Every 2 months, I reemerge from my heavy workload to talk to you all on this blog. For years I was better at it; you could expect a post every two days. But at least I don’t appear as seldom as the GSA – the federal construction king – who makes a single appearance every five years to assess its green building standard. The groundhog is back out of its hole.

 

The General Services Administration (GSA) is required to assess the quality of its green building standards every five years. The GSA has utilized LEED 2009 for the past few years, but a couple other metrics are now getting the chance to woo the nation’s largest public builder.  Green Building Initiative’s Green Globes and the International Living Future Institute have joined the race.

 

Here is the rundown:

 

On February 5, 2013, GSA published a request for information in the Federal Register seeking additional public input on the findings from the interagency ad-hoc review group and how the Federal government can best use green building certification systems.  The Federal Register notice can be found at https://federalregister.gov/a/2013-02408.  GSA is soliciting comments for a period of 60 days, ending on April 8, 2013.

 

If you are so inclined to wax poetic on the subject, you may submit a comment via 1 of 4 ways:

 

Visit http://www.regulations.gov and search for “Notice-MG-2012-04″, or

Fax your comments to 202-501-4067, or

E-mail your comments to bryan.steverson@gsa.gov, or

Mail them to General Services Administration, Regulatory Secretariat (MVCB), ATTN: Hada Flowers, 1275 First Street, NE., 7th Floor, Washington, DC 20417

 

Five years is a long time to wait to consider new alternatives to green building standards. Now, I will recognize that the GSA did a similar evaluation last year (March 2012). But the process managed by federal agencies, internally; it was not a public comment process. By managing the process internally and failing to get input from the users that implement LEED and other standards everyday, they do little to justify their decisions.

 

Knowing what we have learned about LEED, and green building standards in general, over the past year, I think it is time to come up with a reasonable interval for assessing the third party standard that governs the nation’s building projects. Lessons are learned best – in short intervals.

 


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