FEDERAL GOVERNMENT SIGNS MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTADING
ON HIGH PERFORMANCE BUILDINGS
Position Will Allow Competition Among Green Building Rating Systems
WASHINGTON, DC (February 17, 2006) — The federal government has furthered the green building cause by choosing to remain rating system neutral in a recent memorandum of understanding (MOU) that commits 17 federal agencies and the office of the President to leadership in the design, construction and operation of high performance and sustainable buildings.
"This is a very positive development," said Ward Hubbell, executive director of the Green Building Initiative™ (GBI), a recently established non-profit organization offering a Web-based environmental design and assessment tool for commercial green buildings. "Appropriately, the MOU avoids mandating the use of any one particular system. Instead, the government has chosen to focus on the end result, opening the door for any system able to facilitate the achievement of sustainability goals for building design and operation."
According to Hubbell, the government has, and will continue to play an important role in creating positive incentives for helping to spur the marketplace. "This MOU demonstrates the governments' understanding that a mandated preference would stifle exactly the kind of competition necessary to actively allow the best options to come to market," added Hubbell. "Their position opens the door to our system and any other that can demonstrate results something we believe is necessary to stimulate the kind of healthy competition that leads to innovation, improvement and ultimately better buildings."
Development of the MOU was led by the Office of the Federal Environmental Executive, and is part of a growing trend for governments to formalize their commitment to green building. A number of states and municipalities have passed or are considering related legislation, and the Energy Policy Act of 2005 also requires federal buildings to improve their energy-efficiency. The General Services Administration also recently commissioned a study to be conducted by the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory to study alternate rating systems.
As part of their agreement, the agencies involved have committed to using specific guiding principles in the areas of design, energy, materials and indoor air quality, among others. A copy of the MOU will be available soon on the Fedcenter Web site, at: http://www.fedcenter.gov/whsummit2006.
For more information on the Green Building Initiative, or the Green Globes environmental assessment and rating system, visit www.thegbi.org