The EPA regional headquarters in Denver has achieved the LEED Gold rating from the U.S. Green Building Council. (General Services Administration)
The General Services Administration is raising the bar to increase the energy efficiency of all of its new federal building construction projects.
Projects must achieve LEED Gold certification, the second-highest rating from the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program.
Previously, federal building projects needed to be certified at the LEED Silver level, the third-highest rating, or higher.
The U.S. Green Building Council's LEED system awards points for incorporating sustainable practices into building designs. The more sustainable features of a building, the more points it receives. A LEED Gold rating building would need to incorporate more features such as water-efficient bathrooms, green roofs and recycled construction material.
The highest rating is LEED Platinum.
Robert Peck, commissioner of GSA's Public Buildings Service, said that better-performing government buildings can have a substantial environmental impact.
"This new requirement is just one of the many ways we're greening the federal real estate inventory to help deliver on President Obama's commitment to increase sustainability and energy efficiency across government," Peck said in a news release.
For projects funded before fiscal 2010, LEED Gold standards will be incorporated wherever possible.
New leased GSA spaces still require only LEED Silver certification.