Myers Verde Notes 1.0

Federal Guiding Principles for High Performance and Sustainable Buildings

This is the first in a series of notes on how to comply with the Federal Guiding Principles for High Performance and Sustainable Buildings.  I will focus predominately on existing buildings and will follow with a separate series on new construction.

The Federal Guiding Principles began back in 2006 when the Department of Energy, the General Services Administration, the Department of Defense and other executive branch agencies signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that established the Guiding Principles (GP) for new construction and major renovation using a set of five main focus areas (integrated design, energy performance, water conservation, indoor environmental quality, and materials) with associated requirements. EO 13423, Strengthening Federal Environmental, Energy, and Transportation Management, extended the MOU beyond the original signatories to all executive branch agencies, set performance targets for the entire federal inventory of buildings (new and existing) for the end of fiscal year (FY) 2015, and identified the GP as the set of requirements that would need to be met in order to comply with HPSB performance targets.

The 2008 revision of the GPs guidance updated the new construction and major renovation requirements and set forth guidance for the GPs for existing buildings. The HPSB Guidance of 2008 established a common set of sustainable Guiding Principles for integrated design, energy performance, water conservation, indoor environmental quality, and materials aimed at helping Federal agencies and organizations:

– Reduce the total ownership cost of facilities

– Improve energy efficiency and water conservation

– Provide safe, healthy, and productive built environments

– Promote sustainable environmental stewardship

With the signing of EO 13514, Federal Leadership in Environmental, Energy, and Economic Performance, in 2009, the MOU was reaffirmed, and sustainability performance goals for the number of buildings to meet HPSB requirements were further defined. EO 13514 requires Federal Agencies to incorporate the Guiding Principles for New Construction and Major Renovations into all new construction, major renovation, or repair and alternation of Federal Buildings.

EO 13514 does not specify size or cost threshold or whether the building is commercial, laboratory, institutional or residential in purpose. At least 15% of the agency’s existing buildings (above 5,000 gross square feet) and building leases (above 5,000 gross square feet) must meet the Guiding Principles by fiscal year 2015 and agencies must make annual progress toward 100-percent conformance with the Guiding Principles for its building inventory.

The Guiding Principles for Existing Buildings has five main sections:

1. Employ Integrated Assessment, Operation and Management Principles;

2. Optimize Energy Performance;

3. Protect and Conserve Water;

4. Enhance Indoor Environmental Quality; and

5. Reduce Environmental Impact of Materials

Each section has a set of requirements.  To comply with the Guiding Principles all requirements must be met.

The Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) Continuing Education On-demand series on the Guiding Principles is now available.

GP series





I will begin with Employ Integrated Assessment, Operation and Management Principles.

The first requirement is:

Use an integrated team to develop and implement policy regarding sustainable operations and maintenance

1.1 Integrated Team

The intent is to maximize opportunities to identify and implement sustainable operations and maintenance in existing buildings through diverse and technically skilled teams.  For new construction, initiate and maintain an integrated project team for all stages of a project’s design, planning, and construction, as described on the Whole Building Design Guide website. Project managers familiar with USGBC’s LEED v4 have seen the new credit, “Integrative Process” to support high-performance, cost-effective project outcomes through an early analysis of the interrelationships among systems. I’ll highlight how to use third-party certification systems to meet the Guiding Principles separately. However using the Integrative Process methodology described in LEED v4 will also help you meet the Guiding Principles.

Compliance Method(s)

Start an integrated (cross-functional) or “green” team. The establishment of an integrated or “green team” provides different perspectives about building operations and maintenance practices. The team may be a site-wide (campus) team or a building-specific team. If the team is site-wide like for a multi-building or campus site make sure that you can show how the team directly impacts the sustainable building decisions at the building level. According to the Whole Building Design Guide, an integrated project team uses an integrated design approach and an integrated team process in all stages of project planning, delivery, and building operations. The team should include all stakeholders, such as representatives from energy management, facility operations, health and safety, engineering, purchasing and acquisition, environmental (including water and storm water management), landscaping, security, maintenance, and cleaning operations. The team size and membership may change over time to ensure that the necessary skills are always represented to meet project needs.


Documentation may include a team charter, team roster, team meeting minutes or a completed Federal HPSB Checklist that includes the responsible team members or equivalent documentation that lists the name and responsibility of each team member.


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