DOE sets new green standard certifications for federal buildings

The Department of Energy (DOE) unveiled a regulation Friday to ensure that federal buildings use proper energy and water efficiency certifications.

The rule dictates which private-sector green building certifications, like Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), can be used by federal agencies to meet existing government standards for efficiency.

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“The rule, which goes into effect Nov. 13, ensures that in cases where agencies choose to use green building certification systems to meet federal sustainability and energy standards, they must choose a system that verifies enhanced energy and water efficiency,” DOE said in a Friday notice.

“System requirements for the verification of energy and water performance in new construction and major renovations will lead to reduced consumption through active energy and water management,” it said.

The private-sector certifications do not replace the government’s green building standards.

But as required under 2007’s major energy law, Friday’s regulation aims at allowing federal agencies and private real estate companies an alternative way of certifying compliance.

LEED’s Silver level is one of the systems the DOE is allowing under the rule, because Congress dictated it in the law.

But the Green Globes program, a competitor to LEED, can also be used under certain circumstances, the DOE said.