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Sustainability Standards

Review Design Standards General Statements before utilizing this web page.

Executive Orders (EOs)
Presidential Memoranda, Proclamations, & Plans
Building Codes & Industry Standards
Government Directives & Government Standards
Department of the Interior (DOI) Policies
National Park Service (NPS) Requirements
Professional Guidance
General Design Guidance
Design Tools
Products & Materials
Sustainability Rating Systems



  • PL 102-486 - Energy Policy Act of 1992
  • PL 109-058 - Energy Policy Act of 2005 - Among other things this legislation requires:
    • Reduced building energy consumption by at least 30% (20% for renovation) compared with ASHRAE 90.1 / IECC (where LCC effective).
    • Reduced water usage.
    • Specification of premium efficiency motors.
    • Procurement of both on-grid and off-grid renewable energy generation systems (solar hot water, solar electric, solar outdoor lighting, small wind turbines, fuel cells, etc.) where such systems are life-cycle cost-effective.
    • Specification of recovered minerals in cement and concrete as recommended by EPA guidance in their "Comprehensive Procurement Guidelines".
    • Provides a mechanism whereby design firms may obtain an income tax credit up to $1.80 per square foot of designed building, when design can be shown to meet specific energy targets.
    • Requires the use of Energy Star or FEMP designated products - for products covered by either of these programs.
  • PL 110-140 - Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (pdf) - Among other things this legislation:
    • Lengthens study period for Life Cycle Cost (LCC) analyses from 25 years to 40 years.
    • Requires projects to dramatically reduce their use of fossil fuel derived energy. See reference below in General Design Guidance, Energy for link to comparative Commercial Building Energy Consumption Survey (CBECS) data for calculation.
    • Requires projects to derive at least 30% of their energy for water heating from solar (where LCC effective).
    • Projects with a footprint exceeding 5,000 square feet must use site planning, design, construction, and maintenance strategies to control storm water runoff. (See DSC Briefing Paper - Project Hydrology Requirements of EISA.)
    • Summary of Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (pdf)
  • PL 111-8 - Omnibus Appropriations Act, 2009 (section 748) (pdf) - This appropriations act incorporates Executive Order 13423 into law.

Executive Orders (EOs)

Presidential Memoranda, Proclamations, & Plans

  • December 5, 2013 - Federal Leadership on Energy Management
    • Requires “20 percent of the total amount of electric energy consumed by each agency during any fiscal year shall be renewable energy.”
    • Install building energy meters and sub-meters as required by section 543(e) of the National Energy Conservation Policy Act (NECPA) (42 U.S.C. 8253(e)), and continue installation of additional building energy meters and sub-meters where cost-effective and appropriate.
    • Install water meters at agency buildings where cost-effective and appropriate.
    • Ensure that for any agency buildings metered for energy and water performance, the associated monthly performance data is entered into the EPA Energy Star Portfolio Manager to better manage energy performance and allow for benchmarking.
  • June 2013 - The President's Climate Action Plan (pdf)
    • Outlines 3 key pillars: Cut Carbon Pollution in America, Prepare US for the Impacts of Climate Change, Lead International Efforts to Combat Global Climate Change and Prepare for its Impacts.
    • Encourages Federal Government to be the leader in clean energy and energy efficiency.
    • Establishes agency goal of using 20% of the electricity from renewable sources by yr. 2020.


Code of Federal Regulations

Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR)

  • FAR Parts 2, 4, 7, 11, 12, 13, 23, 42, 45 and 52.2 - The Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) address environmental considerations in contracting and procurement procedures. These parts outline acquisition planning, energy and water efficiency, renewable energy, use of recovered materials, biobased products, hazardous materials, and waste reduction.

Building Codes & Industry Standards

  • International Building Code 2012
  • International Existing Building Code 2012
  • International Green Construction Code (IGCC 2012)
  • ASHRAE Guideline 0-2005, The Commissioning Process
  • ASHRAE Guideline 1.1-2007 - HVAC&R Technical Requirements for The Commissioning Process
  • ASHRAE 52.2-2007; Method of Testing General Ventilation Air-Cleaning Devices for Removal Efficiency by Particle Size
  • ASHRAE Standard 55-2010, Thermal Environmental Conditions for Human Occupancy
  • ASHRAE Standard 62.1-2010, Ventilation for Acceptable Indoor Air Quality
  • ASHRAE Standard 90.1-2010, Energy Standard for Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings
  • ASHRAE Standard 189.1-2011, Standard for the Design of High-Performance, Green Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings

Government Directives & Government Standards

Department of the Interior (DOI) Policies

National Park Service (NPS) Requirements

Management Policies

Management Policies 2006 - The Guide to Managing the National Park System

Director's Orders (DOs)

  • DO 13A: Environmental Management Systems - This DO articulates the principles and policies for developing and implementing a Servicewide EMS approach that guides environmental decision-making and actions at all levels. Its purpose is to help ensure compliance with regulatory requirements and a commitment to pollution prevention, waste reduction, sustainable planning, environmentally preferable purchasing, and the incorporation of environmental best management practices
  • NPS Director's Order 77-2: Floodplain Management (pdf) - This DO articulate NPS policies regarding development and actions in areas subject to flooding.

Handbooks, Reference Manuals (RMs), Strategies, Plans, & other Professional Materials

Denver Service Center (DSC) Requirements

Professional Guidance


Historic Buildings

General Design Guidance

Design Tools

  • Energy Plus - Free building energy modeling software from Department of Energy.
  • EQuest - Free "sophisticated, yet easy-to-use building energy analysis tool" from Department of Energy.
  • Advanced Energy Design Guides (30%) - Design guides for achieving 30% energy savings over ASHRAE 90.1-1999 for a variety of building occupancies. Provides regionally specific recommendations for the thermal performance of building envelope elements, HVAC system efficiency recommendations, etc.
  • Advanced Energy Design Guide for Small Office Buildings (50%) - A design guide for achieving 50% energy savings over ASHRAE 90.1-2004 for small office occupancies. Provides regionally specific recommendations for the thermal performance of building envelope elements, HVAC system efficiency recommendations, etc.

Products and Materials


  • U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) - US Department of Energy website for information on energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies.
  • U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Federal Energy Management Program Technology Deployment Matrix - A matrix of commercially available building related technologies that DOE describes as potentially beneficial and currently underutilized. It rates technologies against a variety of factors.
  • Energy Star - US EPA Energy Star programs and products help save the environment and save consumers money by using less energy through advanced design or construction. Standards for these are available here.
  • Comprehensive Procurement Guidelines (CPG) for Products Containing Recovered Materials

Recycled or Biopreferred Products

Water Use (Indoor)

Water Use (Outdoor)





Sustainability Rating Systems

  • Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED™) - A third-party certification program and the nationally accepted benchmark of the design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings. LEED™ provides building owners and operators with the tools they need to have an immediate and measurable impact on their buildings' performance.
  • Green Globes - The genesis of this system was the Building Research Establishment's Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM). In 1996, the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) published BREEAM Canada for Existing Buildings. In 2000, the system became an online assessment and rating tool under the name Green Globes for Existing Buildings.
  • Sustainability Tracking, Assessment, and Rating System - STARS is a voluntary, self-reporting framework for gauging relative progress toward sustainability for colleges and universities.
  • Living Building Challenge - "…calls for the creation of building projects at all scales that operate as cleanly, beautifully and efficiently as nature's architecture. To be certified under the Challenge, projects must meet a series of ambitious performance requirements, including net zero energy, waste and water, over a minimum of 12 months of continuous occupancy."
  • The Sustainable Sites Initiative: Guidelines and Performance Benchmarks 2009 (pdf) - The Sustainable Sites Initiative is a partnership of the American Society of Landscape Architects, the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, and the United States Botanic Garden in conjunction with a diverse group of stakeholder organizations to establish and encourage sustainable practices in landscape design, construction, operations, and maintenance. The Guidelines and Performance Benchmarks encompass a series of prerequisites and credits for measuring site sustainability.
    • Benchmarks outlined under prerequisites are required and must be met in order for a site to participate in this voluntary program.
    • Benchmarks outlined under credits are optional, but a certain number of them must be attained for a project to achieve eventual recognition as a Sustainable Site.

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