Guiding Principles for Sustainable Federal Buildings
In January 2006, EPA signed the Federal Leadership in High Performance and Sustainable Buildings Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) along with 21 other agencies. This MOU voluntarily committed the Agency to follow the Guiding Principles for Federal Leadership in High Performance and Sustainable Buildings (Guiding Principles). Following issuances of executive orders that required all agencies to comply with the Guiding Principles, the Guiding Principles were updated in December 2008, February 2016 and most recently in December 2020. The most recent version, named the Guiding Principles for Sustainable Federal Buildings and Associated Instructions, was issued by the Council on Environmental Quality to improve usability and consistency in implementation.
The Guiding Principles address the following six sustainable principles for new construction and modernization, as well as existing buildings:
- Employ integrated design principles
- Optimize energy performance
- Protect and conserve water
- Enhance the indoor environmental quality
- Reduce the environmental impact of materials
- Assess and consider building resilience
The 2020 Guiding Principles update also allows agencies to use a third-party certification system to qualify their buildings as sustainable federal buildings, as long as all statutory and regulatory requirements are also met. Accepted third-party certification systems are those most recently recommended by the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) in accordance with its authority under 42 U.S. Code § 17092.
Learn more about how EPA is incorporating the Guiding Principles into its new and existing buildings, or download the Guiding Principles from GSA’s Sustainable Facilities Tool website.