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  • Feature Story

GSA Study of High-Performance Buildings Finds They Deliver Cost Savings and Occupant Satisfaction

July 2, 2018

On June 28, 2018 the U. S. General Services Administration (GSA) released the results of a three-year comprehensive study comparing 100 federal high-performance buildings, which followed the Guiding Principles for Sustainable Federal Buildings , and 100 legacy buildings that did not follow the standard. The study examined five key metrics: energy savings, water savings, cost to operate, waste production and occupant satisfaction. The data demonstrates what many people already know – high performance design saves money through reduction in energy and water use, improvement in operational costs, as well as, improving employee satisfaction and productivity. The complete study demonstrated that high-performance buildings have:

  • 23% lower energy use
  • 28% lower water use
  • 23% lower building operating expenses
  • 9% less waste landfilled
  • higher overall tenant satisfaction

Federal high-performance buildings are able to achieve these benefits because of the design requirements used in the GSA’s Guiding Principles for Sustainable Federal Buildings which includes multiple requirements for energy and water savings, reduced environmental impact from materials, and additional criteria for interior products. GSA also follows guidance from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency which recommends filtration and source control as the most effective way to achieve good indoor air quality.

To balance the need for energy and ventilation conservation with potential negative impacts on indoor air quality, the Guiding Principles requires a focus on  low-emitting products, including GREENGUARD Gold Certification for carpet, gypsum board, ceiling tiles, partitions, and flooring (thru the P100 Facilities Design Standard). UL Environment, which provides GREENGUARD Certification, is proud to support GSA’s efforts to promote good indoor air quality and help improve occupant satisfaction and wellness.