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



Executive Orders (EOs)

  • EO 11988 - Floodplain Management (pdf)
    • Signed: May 24, 1977
    • Federal Register page and date: 42 FR 26951, 1977
    • Requires Federal agencies to determine if their actions will occur in a floodplain.
    • Requires Federal agencies to consider alternatives to development within floodplains.
    See NPS Director's Order 77-2, Floodplain Management and associated Procedural Manual 77-2 described below.
  • EO 11990 - Protection of Wetlands
    • Signed: May 24, 1977
    • Federal Register page and date: 42 FR 26961, 1977
    • Directs all Federal agencies to minimize the destruction, loss, or degradation of wetlands; and preserve and enhance the natural beneficial values of wetlands in the conduct of the agency's responsibilities for: acquiring, managing, and disposing of Federal lands and facilities; providing Federally undertaken, financed, or assisted construction and improvements; and conducting Federal activities and programs affecting land use, including but not limited to water and related land resources planning, regulating, and licensing activities.
  • EO 12072 - Federal Space Management
    • Signed: August 16, 1978
    • 43 FR 36869, 3 CFR, 1978 Comp., p. 213
    • Where not prohibited, the process for meeting Federal space needs shall give first consideration to a centralized community business area and adjacent areas of similar character, including other specific areas which may be recommended by local officials.
  • EO 13006 - Locating Federal Facilities on Historic Properties in our Nation's Central Cities (pdf)
    • Signed: May 21, 1996
    • Federal Register / Vol. 61, No. 102 / Friday, May 24, 1996 / Presidential Documents
    • Encourages the Location of Federal Facilities on Historic Properties in Our Central Cities.
  • EO 13221 - Energy Efficient Standby Power Devices (pdf)
  • EO 13423 - Strengthening Federal Environmental, Energy, and Transportation Management
  • EO 13514 - Federal Leadership in Environmental, Energy, and Economic Performance
  • EO 13653 - Preparing the United States for the Impacts of Climate Change (pdf)
    • Requires agencies to remove or reform barriers that “discourage investments or other actions to increase the Nation’s resilience to climate change.”
    • Requires agencies to “identify opportunities to support and encourage smarter, more climate-resilient investments.”
  • EO 13690 - Federal Flood Risk Management Standard
    • Signed: January 30, 2015
    • Federal Register page and date: FR Doc. 2015-02379
    • Requires Federal Agencies to prepare for resilience against flooding.
    • Requires Federal Agencies to avoid flood plain development wherever there is a practicable alternative.
    • Adds an additional 2 feet to base flood elevation for non-critical actions and adding an additional 3 feet to base flood elevations for critical actions.
  • EO 13693 - Planning for Federal Sustainability in the Next Decade (pdf)
    • Replaces EO 13514 and EO 13423 and revokes Presidential Memorandum Dated December 5th, 2013 Federal Leadership on Energy and Management.
    • The goal of EO 13693 is to maintain Federal leadership in sustainability and greenhouse gas emission reductions.
    • Where life cycle cost effective, Agency wide, building energy intensity (BTUH/SF) shall be reduced by 2.5% annually through the end of fiscal year 2025.
    • Establishes Agency requirements for clean energy, renewable electric energy, and alternative energy.
    • Requires a reduction in potable and non potable water consumption.
    • Reduces green house gasses of agency fleet vehicles.
    • Establishes Agency goal of 15% of all existing buildings above 5,000 SF by fiscal year 2025. Comply with the revised guiding principles.
    • Implement actions for Agency goal of net zero energy, waste, and water for existing buildings 5,000 SF or larger by fiscal year 2025.

Presidential Memoranda, Proclamations, & Plans

  • 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 year 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

  • ASHRAE Guideline 0-2013 -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 90.1-2013 - Energy Standard for Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings
  • ASHRAE Standard 189.1-2014 - Standard for the Design of High-Performance, Green Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings
  • International Building Code (IBC) 2015
  • International Existing Building Code (IEBC) 2015
  • Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractor's National Association (SMACNA) - Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) Guidelines for Occupied Buildings Under Construction
  • Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractor’s National Association (SMACNA) - Indoor Air Quality (IAQ): A Systems Approach

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

  • 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. When used on smaller or less complex buildings, showing compliance with 50% AEDG-2004 will be assumed to meet the Federal requirement of 30% better than the current version of ASHRAE 90.1.
  • 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.

Products & Materials


  • Comprehensive Procurement Guidelines (CPG) for Products Containing Recovered Materials
  • U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) - DOE website for information on energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies.
  • U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) Technology Deployment - Provides the federal government and commercial buildings sector with unbiased information about energy-efficient and renewable energy technologies available for deployment. The technologies are identified on FEMP's Promising Technologies List.
  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Energy Star programs and products help save the environment and save consumers money by using less energy through advanced design or construction. For standards, see
  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) Program - List of alternative products that pose less overall risk to human health and the environment.

Recycled or Biopreferred Products

Water Use (Indoor)

Water Use (Outdoor)





Sustainability Rating Systems

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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."
  • Sustainability Tracking, Assessment, and Rating System - STARS is a voluntary, self-reporting framework for gauging relative progress toward sustainability for colleges and universities.
  • 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.