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GSA updates construction standards to promote energy efficiency

Feb. 1, 2011 - 06:00AM   |  
By ANDY MEDICI   |   Comments
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 has updated six-year-old construction standards to require reductions in energy and water use for all future buildings.

The standards call for a 30 percent reduction in energy use over a 2003 baseline and 20 percent reduction in water use over the baseline for a similarly sized building that met 1992 Environmental Protection Agency water requirements.

The">standards, published Jan. 28, codify recent sustainability pledges by GSA. The standards are part of an effort to require all GSA buildings to attain LEED Gold certification, the second highest rating from the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program. They require that construction projects:

Use at least 10 percent recycled materials in building construction.

Recycle at least 50 percent of construction waste.

Use 50 percent less water for landscaping, compared with original building.

GSA's Public Building Service owns 8,600 federal buildings totaling more than 351 million square feet. The standards also apply to any leased buildings that the government has an option to buy.

The 366-page document also lays out security guidelines. For instance, cameras hidden within the landscape and changes in elevation can help reduce crime by providing better sightlines and by providing strategic locations for camera and security personnel. It lays out safety instructions for rooftop solar cells and says that workstations should not be located more than 200 feet from the nearest toilet.

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