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Green Buildings Vision and Policy Statement

In This Section

August 1995

In order to maintain leadership in environmental protection, EPA must lead by example. Through sustainable design and construction of EPA facilities, the Agency will model responsible environmental behavior and help create the framework within which the building industry as a whole can shift towards practices that will promote "green buildings."

Green buildings are structures that incorporate the principles of sustainable design-design in which the impact of a building on the environment will be minimal over its lifetime. Green buildings incorporate principles of energy and resource efficiency, practical applications of waste reduction and pollution prevention, good indoor air quality and natural light to promote occupant health and productivity, and transportation efficiency in design and construction, during use and reuse.

Agency facilities, both new and existing, should serve as models for a healthy workplace with minimal environmental impacts. To achieve this goal, EPA will utilize both innovative, state-of-the-art technologies and a holistic approach to design, construction, renovation, and use. EPA will work with the private sector to identify opportunities for innovation and help create markets for both products and design concepts. Important considerations in the design, construction, and use of EPA-owned and -leased facilities include the following:

Evaluation of trade-offs is an important component of the design of green buildings. Where the goals of a green building are contradictory (e.g., increased ventilation vs. increased energy efficiency), the trade-offs must be evaluated in a holistic framework to achieve long-term benefits for the environment. Also, the physical considerations must be balanced with other policy objectives such as environmental justice, particularly with regard to site location. EPA anticipates that there may not always be single answers to recurring building issues, but the Agency will adopt a consistent approach to evaluating all buildings for sustainable design considerations.

Source: EPA's Environmental Procurement Strategy: EPA's Action Plan for Implementing Executive Order 12873 on Federal Acquisition, Recycling, and Waste Prevention, August 1995.

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