FHPSB Technical Guidance

Existing Buildings

Executive Order 13514 requires at least 15% of each agency's existing facilities and building leases (above 5,000 gross square feet) to meet the Guiding Principles by the end of fiscal year 2015. To meet this goal, most agencies must upgrade at least some portion of their existing building stock. The original HPSB Guiding Principles, as included in the 2006 Federal Leadership in High Performance and Sustainable Buildings Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) (PDF), were focused on requirements for new construction and major renovations. The December 2008 HPSB guidance issued by OMB acknowledges the differences between new construction and existing buildings by developing a separate set of Guiding Principles for Sustainable Existing Buildings. This set of Guiding Principles is listed below, with links to technical guidance on specific topics covered in the WBDG.

This set of Guiding Principles has also been incorporated into the Federal High Performance Sustainable Buildings Checklist (or Guiding Principles Checklist), now available through EPA's ENERGY STAR® Portfolio Manager, an interactive web-based tool that allows users to track and assess energy and water consumption across entire building portfolios. Federal agencies that are assessing their existing building stock against the Guiding Principles for Sustainable Buildings can use the Guiding Principles Checklist to:

  • Conduct initial and final building walkthrough assessments
  • Track and easily view progress on each guiding principle
  • Upload compliance documents to the repository for record keeping
  • Create a portfolio-wide federal building sustainability roll-up report, and
  • Review up-to-date energy and water metrics generated by Portfolio Manager

Access the Guiding Principles Checklist at the ENERGY STAR® website.

Guiding Principles for Sustainable Existing Buildings

I. Employ Integrated Assessment, Operation, and Management Principles

  • Integrated Assessment, Operation, and Management. Use an integrated team to develop and implement policy regarding sustainable operations and maintenance.
    • Incorporate sustainable operations and maintenance practices within the appropriate Environmental Management System (EMS),
    • Assess existing condition and operational procedures of the building and major building systems and identify areas for improvement,
    • Establish operational performance goals for energy, water, material use and recycling, and indoor environmental quality, and ensure incorporation of these goals throughout the remaining lifecycle of the building,
    • Incorporate a building management plan to ensure that operating decisions and tenant education are carried out with regard to integrated, sustainable building operations and maintenance,
    • Augment building operations and maintenance as needed using occupant feedback on work space satisfaction.
  • Commissioning. Employ recommissioning, tailored to the size and complexity of the building and its system components, in order to optimize and verify performance of fundamental building systems. Commissioning must be performed by an experienced commissioning provider. When building commissioning has been performed, the commissioning report, summary of actions taken, and schedule for recommissioning must be documented. In addition, meet the requirements of Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA 2007), Section 432 and associated Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) guidance.

    Building recommissioning must have been performed within four years prior to reporting a building as meeting the Guiding Principles.

II. Optimize Energy Performance

  • Energy Efficiency. Three options can be used to measure energy efficiency performance:
    • Option 1: Receive an ENERGY STAR® rating of 75 or higher or an equivalent Labs21 Benchmarking Tool score for laboratory buildings,
    • Option 2: Reduce measured building energy use by 20% compared to building energy use in 2003 or a year thereafter with quality energy use data, or
    • Option 3: Reduce energy use by 20% compared to the ASHRAE 90.1-2007 baseline building design if design information is available. Use ENERGY STAR® and FEMP-designated Energy Efficient Products, where available.
  • On-Site Renewable Energy. Per E.O. 13423, implement renewable energy generation projects on agency property for agency use, when lifecycle cost effective.
  • Measurement and Verification. Per the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPAct 2005) Section 103, install building level electricity meters to track and continuously optimize performance. Per the EISA 2007, the utility meters must also include natural gas and steam, where natural gas and steam are used.
  • Benchmarking. Compare annual performance data with previous years' performance data, preferably by entering annual performance data into the ENERGY STAR® Portfolio Manager. For building and space types not available in ENERGY STAR®, use an equivalent benchmarking tool such as the Labs21 benchmarking tool for laboratory buildings.

III. Protect and Conserve Water

  • Indoor Water. Two options can be used to measure indoor potable water use performance:
    • Option 1: Reduce potable water use by 20% compared to a water baseline calculated for the building. The water baseline, for buildings with plumbing fixtures installed in 1994 or later, is 120% of the Uniform Plumbing Codes 2006 or the International Plumbing Codes 2006 fixture performance requirements. The water baseline for plumbing fixtures older than 1994 is 160% of the Uniform Plumbing Codes 2006 or the International Plumbing Codes 2006 fixture performance requirements, or
    • Option 2: Reduce building measured potable water use by 20% compared to building water use in 2003 or a year thereafter with quality water data.
  • Outdoor Water. Three options can be used to measure outdoor potable water use performance:
    • Option 1: Reduce potable irrigation water use by 50% compared to conventional methods, or
    • Option 2: Reduce building related potable irrigation water use by 50% compared to measured irrigation water use in 2003 or a year thereafter with quality water data, or
    • Option 3: Use no potable irrigation water.
  • Measurement of Water Use. (PDF) The installation of water meters for building sites with significant indoor and outdoor water use is encouraged. If only one meter is installed, reduce potable water use (indoor and outdoor combined) by at least 20% compared to building water use in 2003 or a year thereafter with quality water data.

    Employ strategies that reduce storm water runoff and discharges of polluted water offsite. Per EISA Section 438, where redevelopment affects site hydrology, use site planning, design, construction, and maintenance strategies to maintain hydrologic conditions during development, or to restore hydrologic conditions following development, to the maximum extent that is technically feasible.
  • Process Water. Per the EPAct 2005 Section 109, when potable water is used to improve a building's energy efficiency, deploy lifecycle cost effective water conservation measures.
  • Water-Efficient Products. Where available, use EPA's WaterSense-labeled products or other water conserving products, where available. Choose irrigation contractors who are certified through a WaterSense labeled program.

IV. Enhance Indoor Environmental Quality

  • Ventilation and Thermal Comfort. Meet ASHRAE Standard 55-2004, Thermal Environmental Conditions for Human Occupancy and ASHRAE Standard 62.1-2007: Ventilation for Acceptable Indoor Air Quality.
  • Moisture Control. Provide policy and illustrate the use of an appropriate moisture control strategy to prevent building damage, minimize mold contamination, and reduce health risks related to moisture. For fa├žade renovations, Dew Point analysis and a plan for cleanup or infiltration of moisture into building materials are required.
  • Daylighting and Lighting Controls. Automated lighting controls (occupancy/vacancy sensors with manual-off capability) are provided for appropriate spaces including restrooms, conference and meeting rooms, employee lunch and break rooms, training classrooms, and offices. Two options can be used to meet additional daylighting and lighting controls performance expectations:
    • Option 1: Achieve a minimum daylight factor of 2 percent (excluding all direct sunlight penetration) in 50 percent of all space occupied for critical visual tasks, or
    • Option 2: Provide occupant controlled lighting, allowing adjustments to suit individual task needs, for 50% of regularly occupied spaces.
  • Low-Emitting Materials. Use low emitting materials for building modifications, maintenance, and cleaning. In particular, specify the following materials and products to have low pollutant emissions: composite wood products, adhesives, sealants, interior paints and finishes, solvents, carpet systems, janitorial supplies, and furnishings.
  • Integrated Pest Management. Use integrated pest management techniques as appropriate to minimize pesticide usage. Use EPA-registered pesticides only when needed.
  • Environmental Tobacco Smoke Control. Prohibit smoking within the building and within 25 feet of all building entrances, operable windows, and building ventilation intakes.

V. Reduce Environmental Impact of Materials

  • Recycled Content. Per Section 6002 of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) (PDF), for EPA-designated products, use products meeting or exceeding EPA's recycled content recommendations for building modifications, maintenance, and cleaning. For other products, use materials with recycled content such that the sum of postconsumer recycled content plus one-half of the pre-consumer content constitutes at least 10% (based on cost or weight) of the total value of the materials in the project. If EPA-designated products meet performance requirements and are available at a reasonable cost, a preference for purchasing them shall be included in all solicitations relevant to construction, operation, maintenance of or use in the building. EPA's recycled content product designations and recycled content recommendations are available on EPA's Comprehensive Procurement Guideline website.
  • Biobased Content. Per Section 9002 of the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act (FSRIA), for USDA-designated products, use products with the highest content level per USDA's biobased content recommendations. For other products, use biobased products made from rapidly renewable resources and certified sustainable wood products. If these designated products meet performance requirements and are available at a reasonable cost, a preference for purchasing them should be included in all solicitations relevant to construction, operation, maintenance of or use in the building. USDA's biobased product designations and biobased content recommendations are available on USDA's BioPreferred website.
  • Environmentally Preferable Product. Use products that have a lesser or reduced effect on human health and the environment over their lifecycle when compared with competing products or services that serve the same purpose. A number of standards and ecolabels are available in the marketplace to assist specifiers in making environmentally preferable decisions. For recommendations, consult the Federal Green Construction Guide for Specifiers.
  • Waste and Materials Management. Provide reuse and recycling services for building occupants, where markets or on-site recycling exist. Provide salvage, reuse and recycling services for waste generated from building operations, maintenance, repair and minor renovations, and discarded furnishings, equipment and property. This could include such things as beverage containers and paper from building occupants, batteries, toner cartridges, outdated computers from an equipment update, and construction materials from a minor renovation.
  • Ozone Depleting Compounds. Eliminate the use of ozone depleting compounds where alternative environmentally preferable products are available, consistent with either the Montreal Protocol and Title VI of the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990, or equivalent overall air quality benefits that take into account lifecycle impacts.