GSA Green Building Performance


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GSA evaluated 12 sustainably designed buildings in its national portfolio. The evaluation of these buildings was comprehensive measuring environmental performance, financial metrics, and occupant satisfaction. No previous analysis has taken such a holistic view. the buildings studied all incorporated sustainable design criteria to varying degrees, with seven receiving leed ratings. The results of GSA's evaluation show that sustainably designed buildings outperform the national average for buildings of their type by a substantial margin.

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GSA Green Building Performance

  1. 1. GSA Public Buildings Service office of Applied science Applied ResearchAssessing greenbuildingperformAnceA post occupAncy evAluAtion of 12 gsA buildingsReseARch oveRview: integRAtion meAns high peRfoRmAnce............................................................. 4ReseARch conteXt: A compRehensive evAluAtion............................................................................... 6finding 1: fully integRAted design deliveRs higheR peRfoRmAnce............................................... 10finding 2: gsAs gReen Buildings cost less to opeRAte.................................................................. 12finding 3: gsA’s gReen Buildings hAve sAtisfied occupAnts............................................................. 14finding 4: gReen Buildings deliveR on gsAs mAndAtes...................................................................... 16 sustAinAbility
  2. 2. the office of Applied science supports gsA’s public Buildingsservice by generating research findings and recommending businessimprovements that can be directly applied to real world situations.the mission of the public Buildings service is to provide superiorworkplaces for federal customer agencies at the best value to theAmerican taxpayer.produced by gsA public Buildings service,office of Applied scienceJune 2008this document is printed on post-consumer recycled paper.
  3. 3. national park service, omaha, nebraska photo credit: Kessler photography introduction sustAinAble design delivers to answer the question, ‘does sustainable design deliver?’ gsA evaluated 12 sustain- ably designed buildings in its national portfolio. the evaluation of these buildings was comprehensive—measuring environmental performance, financial metrics, and occupant satisfaction. no previous analysis has taken such a holistic view. the buildings studied all incorporated sustainable design criteria to varying degrees, with seven receiving leed ratings. the results of gsAs evaluation show that sustainably designed buildings outperform the national average for buildings of their type by a substantial margin. integrAted design yields even better performAnce the best performing buildings in the study were those that took a fully integrated approach to sustainable design—addressing site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection, and indoor environmental quality. As America’s largest public real estate organization, gsA has a special responsibility to lead in build­ ing sustainably and meet federal mandates, including energy policies and executive orders. what the evaluation shows is that a fully integrated approach to sustainable design is helping gsA to meet its mandates by delivering buildings that use substan­ tially less energy, cost less to operate and maintain, and lead to greater occupant satisfaction. needed next: nAtionAl sustAinAble building dAtA this study is an important first step in a much-needed national assessment of sus­ tainable building performance in the public, private, and institutional sectors. gsAs evaluation establishes a new benchmark for comprehensiveness using a protocol that others can follow, both in the federal and private sectors. 3
  4. 4. reseArch overviewintegration means high performance"This study breaks new the us general services Administration (gsA) commissioned a comprehensive key findings: compared to national averages, ground by comparing post-occupancy evaluation of 12 of its sus­ buildings in this study have: tainably designed buildings.1 the measures GSAs sustainably designed studied included environmental perfor­ buildings against US com­ mance, financial metrics, and occupant satisfaction. no previous us study has 26% less energy use taken such a holistic approach to building mercial buildings, using performance. the leed buildings evaluat­ (65 kBtu/sf/yr vs. 88 kBtu/sf/yr). ed represented one-third of the total leed the latest performance data. Its findings will be rel­ buildings in gsA’s national portfolio at the time the study was conducted. 13% lower aggregate maintenance evant to building owners the study compared the energy perfor­ mance, operating cost, and water use of costs ($2.88/sf vs. $3.30/sf) and developers, public and the 12 gsA buildings against the average private, across the country." performance of us commercial buildings, using the following sources of data: 27% higher occupant satisfaction measurement data source2-dAvid winsteAd eui cBecs national survey 33% commissioner, public Buildings service of commercial Buildings constructed between 1990 and 20033 fewer co2 emissions co2 eneRgy stAR4 (19lbs/sf/yr vs. 29lbs/sf/yr) maintenance ifmA5 and BomA6 costs: 2006/2007 surveys reporting 2003-2005 data water use: federal water use index7 occupant center for the Built satisfaction: environment, uc Berkeley8 the study found that gsAs green build­ ings outperform national averages in all measured performance areas—energy, operating costs, water use, occupant satisfaction, and carbon emissions. the study also found that gsAs leed gold buildings, which reflect a fully integrated approach to sustainable design—address­ ing environmental, financial, and occupant satisfaction issues in aggregate—achieve the best overall performance. 4
  5. 5. Fr Om Kn es ox ah 0 no 20 40 60 80 v 100 120 0 500 1,000 1,500 2,000 2,500 3,000 3,500 4,000 4,500 5,000 a 0 20 40 60 80 100 120 ille CH D D H Fr FB Sa /F B av en S es nt no a po CH An rt a Om C Gr /F FB ah H ee B Kn a ne ox Yo N v ille un PS vi lle G gs to FB CH re FB w Om en ev n ah G CH a O ille re /F D m CH en B Sa H ah ev S a nt a N Cl ill e An PS FB ev CH D a Om el av FB an ah d en a CH po D Kn O rt Cl H ox m C ev S vi ah H el lle a an d FB Yo N un PS La CH Og gs ke de to FB w n w n (kbtu/sf/yr) oo score d La ke FB CH FB w wAter use La /F O oo ke B gd d w energy stAr en FB D FB D oo d av en figure 1: performance metrics (thousand gallons/yr) en ve Cl FB energy use intensity po r ev el rt Sa CH an C nt d D H a CH Yo en An un ve Fr a O gs r es FB gd en to CH no w FB n CH D gsA study buildings CH /F en /F B ve B r CH study outperformed us commercial buildings. Om ah Sa O 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 a nt a 0 1 2 3 4 G D gd 0 10 20 30 40 50 re H en An on average the 12 sustainably designed buildings in the en S FB Fr a ev Cl es FB ev Fr ille e la no CH nd CH es no Om G /F CH re B ah en CH a ev /F N ill Kn B PS e ox CH vi La FB Kn lle ke ox Cl ev FB w vi lle oo el an d Cl FB FB ev D d Sa el CH nt an av en a d An CH po G a rt re FB Og La C de ke H en n w ev ille D FB oo av O d m FB CH Yo en po ah Kn un a ox rt C N vi gs to H PS lle w FB D FB n ($/sf) D av CH (lbs/sf/yr) en en Om /F ve po ah B r rt a CH C N co2 emissions Og Fr es H PS (% satisfaction) de no Om FB Sa n CH ah FB nt /F a Yo a B D H mAintenAnce costs un An D S gs a Yo en D FB ve en to r occupAnt sAtisfAction w un ve n gs CH La r to CH CH w ke /F n w B CH oo d indicates national Average indicates Building Baseline /F B FB5
  6. 6. reseArch contextA comprehensive evaluation“We believe that ‘green’ the 12 buildings selected reflect different us regional climates, a mix of uses (court­ About the leed green building rAting system building and sustain­ houses and offices), and a mix of build-to­ suit leases and federally owned buildings. able design and opera­ land ports of entry were excluded the us green building council’s (usgbc) leadership in energy and because, as a building type, they are too tion has a very positive different to allow meaningful comparisons. environmental design (leed) rating system is a nationally accepted eight of these buildings were designed to impact on the people meet or exceed basic leed certification. third party certification program for green building design, construction, the other four were designed to meet the that work in our build­ requirements of other programs, including and operation. As the usgbc puts it, “leed promotes a whole- ings, in terms of their eneRgy stAR and the california title 24 energy standard. building approach to sustainability by recognizing performance in morale and productivity. the research team used a consistent five key areas: sustainable site development, water savings, energy‘Green’ building is the evaluation process for every building efficiency, materials selection, and studied: right thing to do, and indoor environmental quality.” leed closely approximates gsA’s holistic • Obtaining and reviewing one year it’s also the right busi­ of operating data approach to sustainable building development and operation. • Surveying building occupants ness thing to do.” • Interviewing the building manager the leed rating system addresses • Conducting an expert walkthrough dAvid BiBB new construction and renovation,Acting Administrator, gsA operations and maintenance to make the study useful to a larger audi­ of existing buildings, design of ence, the team compared each perfor­ commercial interiors, building core mance measure with the national average and shell development, as well asgsA asked pacific northwest national for us commercial buildings. the latest neighborhood development andlaboratory (pnnl) to evaluate 12 of available benchmark data comes from homes.gsA’s sustainably designed buildings, and widely accepted industry and governmentanswer this question: standards. leed provides four measures of performance: basic certification,while sustainably designed buildings silver, gold, and platinum, basedpromise higher performance, do they on a set of prerequisites and creditsdeliver? in the five major categories listed above. each measure represents anthe study evaluated actual, not modeled, incremental step toward integratingbuilding performance, so the results are the different components ofreliable and objective. successes and sustainable design, construction,shortcomings were identified, along with and operation to achieve optimalareas requiring further research, to pro­ performance.vide best practices to emulate and actionsto take to improve performance. learn more: for more information on the leed rating system: 6
  7. 7. white roof to reduce heAt-islAnd effectbuilding is 66% more efficientthAn AshrAe 90.1 required soffit overhAng on western fAcAde full cut-off light fixtures to reduce light pollution department of recycled brick mulch homeland security, from locAl brick plAnt omaha, nebraska 7
  8. 8. how the gsA study buildings performfigure 2: comparison Against national Averageslow -60% high 100% +92% -53% -50% -45% 80% +79% -40% -39% -40% 60% -34% -28% -30% 40% -20% -16% 20% -10% -3%high 0% nAtionAl AverAge nAtionAl AverAge nAtionAl AverAge nAtionAl AverAge 0% nAtionAl AverAge low Energy Use CO2 Emissions Water Use Maintenance Costs Building Satisfaction top 1/3 of studied buildings middle 1/3 of studied buildings the top performing buildings in eAch metric deliver significAntly better results thAn the nAtionAl AverAge.gsA study buildings: fAst fActs clevelAnd dAvenport the metzenbaum courthouse is on the the davenport courthouse is on the national Register of historic places. the national Register of historic places. the renovations preserved 96% of the existing renovation maintained the integrity of the shell and 59% of the interior elements. historic space, while updating the me­ the courthouse won gsA’s environ­ chanical systems in the building. mental Award for recycling because of the courtrooms incorporate techniquesyear built: 1910 its seven-material collection system and year built: 1933 to bring in daylight and the mechanicalyear renov: 2005 green housekeeping practices. year renov: 2005 systems use variable speed drives. theemployees: 105 employees: 45 hvAc system consists of water-cooledenergy star: 82 energy star: 78 chillers, boilers, and air handling units.co2e: 2,440 mt co2e: 945 mtleed-nc certified leed Registered denver fresno the Arraj courthouse was designed as a the coyle courthouse and federal Building green courthouse prior to the completion houses 14 courtrooms and is the tallest of the leed rating system. it is currently building in the city (11 floors high). seeking leed for existing Buildings certi­ designed under california’stitle 24 fication. energy standard, the building includes high denver employs a hybrid underfloor air efficiency lighting, underfloor air distribu­year built: 2002 distribution system, hvAc and lighting sen­ year built: 2001 tion systems, water-cooled chillers, andemployees: 170 sors, as well as photovoltaic panels. employees: 85 natural gas star: 77 energy star: 92co2e: 4,668 mt co2e: 2,666 mt cA energy stan­ dard title 24 8
  9. 9. greeneville knoxville the Quillen courthouse replaced a smaller located in downtown Knoxville, the courthouse from which the occupants duncan federal Building currently houses reclaimed quality historic furniture. a range of services including the fBi, us some of the energy-efficiency features customs, and hud. include a well-insulated white roof and Alterations to the building incorporate an energy management control system high-efficiency lighting, enhanced meter­year built: 2001 of lighting and occupancy sensors. it also year built: 1986 ing techniques, and low-flow fixtures. theemployees: 85 scores the highest occupant satisfaction for year renov: 2005 roof design reduces the heat island effect,energy star: 87 air quality, acoustics, and lighting. employees: 285 as well as housing photovoltaic panels.co2e: 1,397 mt energy star: 91 co2e: 1,516 mt leed-eB silver lAkewood ogden the facility at lakewood for the depart­ Renovations transformed the historic ment of transportation is a leed silver- scowcroft federal Building into usable leased building. office space meeting the iRs’s specific some features include low-emitting needs. material selection, and daylight and views the space incorporates earthquake in 91% of regularly occupied spaces. in prevention upgrades, improved roof insula­year built: 2001 addition, all building occupants receive a year built: 2001 tion, radiant baseboard heating, and anemployees: 252 booklet about the design and operations of employees: 252 underfloor air distribution system coupledenergy star: 80 the building. energy star: 79 with indirect/direct evaporative cooling.co2e: 2,150 mt co2e: 1,161 mtleed-nc silver leed-nc silver omAhA dhs omAhA nps the omaha department of homeland the curtis national park service build­ security was designed to house multiple ing was built on a brownfield as part of an dhs agencies, and recently won the 2007 urban redevelopment effort. American council of engineering Award the building showcases passive solar for its design. design, daylight harvesting and hvAc sen­ As a leed gold building, the facility in­ sors, as well as underfloor air distribution.year built: 2001 corporates daylight and rainwater-harvest­ year built: 2004 use of native and adaptive vegetation elim­employees: 252 ing systems, a ground source heat pump, employees: 125 inated the need for irrigation. operationsenergy star: 85 and green seal janitorial products. energy star: 86 also include green housekeeping practices.co2e: 1,168 mt co2e: 872 mtleed-nc gold leed-nc gold sAntA AnA youngstown Renovated in 2005, the santa Ana federal the Jones federal Building and courthouse Building lies in the heart of the civic center facility was built on a brownfield, and was part district and accommodates a large flow of of the city’s urban revitalization. visitors to the building each day. youngstown incorporates building con­ this building features high-efficiency lighting trols and daylighting to over 75% of occu­ and hvAc systems, a new roof, energy-effi­ pied spaces. unique features include ayear built: 1975 cient elevators, and lighting sensors. year built: 2002 storm water management demonstration,year renov: 2005 employees: 45 a white membrane roof, and light-coloredemployees: 409 energy star: 58 star: 92 co2e: 655 mtco2e: 1,344 mt leed-nc certifiedcA energy stan­dard title 24 9
  10. 10. finding 1:fully integrated design delivers higher performanceGSA’s sustainably the omaha department of homeland security (dhs) building, omaha,designed green buildings nebraska, performed well across all categories. its eneRgy stAR rating (85)have 26% lower energy is also in the top third for the group. its water costs are 66% below the BomA/use compared to the ifmA baseline, achieved using rainwater harvesting and low-flow and auto-flowNational Average. lavatory fixtures to offset its greater public use. dhs has 65 regular occupants(65 kBtu/sf/yr vs. 88 kBtu/sf/yr) and 360 occupant visitors while nps hassource of national Average: cBecs 125 regular occupants and 134 occupant visitors. dhss domestic water use is 58% below achieve leed gold certification,credits must be obtained in all five rating lesson leArnedareas, requiring a completely integrated Across all buildings studied, building per­approach to sustainable building design. formance tracks design intent. Buildingsthe two leed gold buildings in this designed with a strong energy focus—study clearly show that a comprehensive compliance with california’s demandingapproach yields broad, holistic perfor­ title 24 energy code or eneRgy stAR—mance benefits. while neither building had outstanding energy performance,led in every category, these two buildings although with a lesser achievement inwere the only ones studied that achieved terms of water use intensity. one leedconsistently high levels of performance on certified building did not pursue energyall measures. efficiency during design. As a result, it achieved no leed energy optimizationthe curtis national park service (nps) credits, and had the lowest eneRgybuilding, omaha, nebraska, performed stAR rating in the study.well in all categories. its eneRgy stARrating (86) is in the top third for the group.its water costs are 91% below the BomA/ifmA baseline. its domestic water useis 50% below baseline. its co2 emissionsare 34% under baseline, putting it in thetop half. its emissions from occupants’commutes, 1.7 metric tons per person, putit in the top one-third.nAtionAl building fActs 31% 20% 2 trillion projected increase in energy consumption of u.s. drinking water gallons of water a year would be saved if by the year 2030 despite dramatic gains in supply is consumed by com­ commercial buildings reduced their water energy efficiency.9 mercial buildings.10 consumption by 10%.1110
  11. 11. figure 3: top performers by co2 emissions (lbs/sf/yr) source of national Average: energy star All buildings in this study produce A smAller cArbon footprint thAn the nAtionAl AverAge. top third National Average middle third bottom thirdfigure 4: top performers by water use (thousand gallons/yr) source of national Average: federal water use index leed gold buildings in this study hAve significAntly lower wAter use compAred to the nAtionAl AverAge. bottom third 33% leed gold top third middle third National Average -3% -39% -54% domestic water usage index compared to the national Average 11
  12. 12. finding 2:gsAs green buildings cost less to operateThe five top-performing lesson leArned the best practice lesson here is thatbuildings studied o&m costs are lowest when sustainability is integral to every aspect of a building,spent 14% to 45% including cleaning and recycling. Building and systems efficiency alone isn’t enough.less on energy than the upfront investments in sustainable measures need to be matched by sustain­National Average. able o&m practices.source of national Average: BomA/ifmAwhy do operations and maintenance(o&m) costs matter? considered in aggre­gate, they approximate the consumptionside of overall sustainable performance.As a group, the 12 buildings studiedperformed only slightly better than thenational average for us commercial build­ings: 7% below that baseline. however, thetop-performing one-third of the group didmuch better, at 41% below.the two leed gold buildings were amongthe best performers from an o&m costperspective. lower utility and janitorialcosts and savings from recycling resultedin top scores for the curtis nationalpark service building and the omahadepartment of homeland security build­ing. the use of green cleaning practicesenhanced their performance.on average, the bottom quartile of thebuildings studied had considerablyhigher costs than the industry baseline:45% above the national average for uscommercial buildings. these buildings hadunusually high maintenance costs and, inone case, an operating emergency.nAtionAl building fActs 18% why water efficiency? of total u.s. energy use Between 1950 and 2000, the us population nearly doubled. in that same period, however, consumption comes from public demand for water nearly tripled. Americans now use an average of 100 gallons of commercial buildings.12 water per day—enough to fill 1,600 drinking glasses!1312
  13. 13. figure 5: top performers by energy cost ($/sf/yr) source of national Average: BomA/ifmA Buildings in thisthe top-performing sustAinAble study, on average,buildings studied showed spend 15% less onconsistently lower energy energy than the National Average.costs thAn nAtionAl AverAges. 15% $1.76 per gsf $1.50 per gsftop third middle third bottom third $0.95 $1.50 $2.05 GSA Study National Average $.50 $1.00 $1.50 $2.00 $2.50 $3.00 $3.50 $4.00 $4.50 $5.00 $5.50 Buildings Average = National Average $1.76figure 6: top performers by Aggregate maintenance cost ($/sf) source of national Average: BomA/ifmA Buildings in this study, on average,the top-performing sustAinAble spend 13% less on maintenance thanbuildings studied showed the National Average.consistently lower AggregAtemAintenAnce costs thAn the 13% $3.30 per gsfnAtionAl AverAge. $2.88 per gsf top third middle third bottom third $1.56 $2.77 $4.81 GSA Study National Average $.50 $1.00 $1.50 $2.00 $2.50 $3.00 $3.50 $4.00 $4.50 $5.00 $5.50 Buildings Average = National Average $3.30 13
  14. 14. finding 3:gsA’s green buildings have satisfied occupantsGSA’s sustainably for the lower-performing buildings, the study found that occupant satisfaction isdesigned green buildings undermined by poor acoustics, lighting and maintenance problems. A low level ofdemonstrate a 27% higher ambient noise, a lack of sound masking, and a perceived lack of privacy make acousticoccupant satisfaction than quality worse.the poorly calibrated systems that turn lights on and off in response tothe National Average. daylight conditions may cause problems for some occupants. mechanical failures and poor maintenance can drive down satisfac­source for national Average: cBe, uc Berkeley14 tion scores. lesson leArnedthis study provides important new gsA’s sustainably designed buildings areevidence that occupant satisfaction is scoring points with their occupants inhigher in sustainably designed buildings. terms of overall building and workplaceoccupant satisfaction is important quality, indoor air quality, cleanliness, andbecause it correlates with personal and quality of maintenance. we also gainedteam performance. that often means the following insights from the lower-higher productivity and creativity for an performing buildings:organization. first, acoustic performance matters,As a group, the 12 sustainable build­ and should be addressed by appropriateings studied scored better in occupant teaming and design criteria at the outsetsatisfaction than the national average of every project.for us commercial buildings. half of thebuildings studied scored in the top quartile second, both change management andfor occupant satisfaction. significantly, periodic fine-tuning may be needed totheir average scores in all categories were make automated systems work well forhigher than those of leed certified build­ building occupants, at least until theseings in the private sector14. this suggests systems are fully accepted.that gsA’s integrated life cycle approachwill be a valuable model for public and third, good building maintenance is aprivate organizations. foundation stone of occupant satisfaction. don’t neglect it.nAtionAl building fActs 79% 80% of employees surveyed were willing to forgo of employees surveyed said they felt greater motiva­ income to work for a firm with a credible tion and loyalty toward their company due to its sustainable strategy.15 sustainability initiatives.16 14
  15. 15. occupAnt sAtisfAction surveyfigure 7: comparison Against national Averages source of national Average: center for the Built environment, uc BerkeleyAir quality satisfaction top third 79% middle third 68% Bottom third 58%national Average 46%cleanliness satisfaction top third 91% middle third 86% Bottom third 74%national Average 62%thermal satisfaction top third 63% middle third 47% Bottom third 30%national Average 39%Acoustic satisfaction top third 62% middle third 47% Bottom third 30%national Average 38%lighting satisfaction top third 81% middle third 75% Bottom third 67%national Average 75% 15