FHPSB Technical Guidance

New Construction and Major Renovations

Federal Agencies are required to incorporate the Guiding Principles for New Construction and Major Renovations into all new construction, major renovation, or repair and alternation of Federal Buildings. This set of Guiding Principles is listed below, with links to technical guidance on specific topics covered in the WBDG.

At least 15% of the agency's existing buildings (above 5,000 gross square feet) and building leases (above 5,000 gross square feet) must meet the Guiding Principles by fiscal year 2015 and agencies must makes annual progress toward 100-percent conformance with the Guiding Principles for its building inventory.

Guiding Principles for Sustainable New Construction and Major Renovations

I. Employ Integrated Design Principles

  • Integrated Design. Use a collaborative, integrated planning and design process that initiates and maintains an integrated project team in all stages of a project's planning and delivery:
    • Integrates the use of OMB's A-11, Section 7, Exhibit 300: Capital Asset Plan and Business Case Summary,
    • Establishes performance goals for siting, energy, water, materials, and indoor environmental quality along with other comprehensive design goals and ensures incorporation of these goals throughout the design and lifecycle of the building,
    • Considers all stages of the building's lifecycle, including deconstruction.
  • Commissioning. Employ commissioning practices tailored to the size and complexity of the building and its system components in order to verify performance of building components and systems and help ensure that design requirements are met. This should include an experienced commissioning provider, inclusion of commissioning requirements in construction documents, a commissioning plan, verification of the installation and performance of systems to be commissioned, and a commissioning report.

II. Optimize Energy Performance

  • Energy Efficiency. Establish a whole building performance target that takes into account the intended use, occupancy, operations, plug loads, other energy demands, and design to earn the ENERGY STAR® targets for new construction and major renovation where applicable. For new construction, reduce the energy use by 30 percent compared to the baseline building performance rating per the American National Standards Institute (ANSI)/American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers, Inc., (ASHRAE)/Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IESNA) Standard 90.1-2007, Energy Standard for Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential. For major renovations, reduce the energy use by 20 percent below pre-renovations 2003 baseline. Laboratory spaces may use the Labs21 Laboratory Modeling Guidelines. Use ENERGY STAR® and FEMP-designated Energy Efficient Products, where available.
  • On-Site Renewable Energy. Per the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA 2007) Section 523, meet at least 30% of the hot water demand through the installation of solar hot water heaters, when lifecycle cost effective.

    Per Executive Order 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 in new major construction and renovation projects to track and continuously optimize performance. Per EISA Section 434, include equivalent meters for natural gas and steam, where natural gas and steam are used.
  • Benchmarking. Compare actual performance data from the first year of operation with the energy design target, preferably by using ENERGY STAR® Portfolio Manager for building and space types covered by ENERGY STAR®. Verify that the building performance meets or exceeds the design target, or that actual energy use is within 10% of the design energy budget for all other building types. For other building and space types, use an equivalent benchmarking tool such as the Labs21 benchmarking tool for laboratory buildings.

III. Protect and Conserve Water

  • Indoor Water. Employ strategies that in aggregate use a minimum of 20 percent less potable water than the indoor water use baseline calculated for the building, after meeting the EPAct 1992, Uniform Plumbing Codes 2006, and the International Plumbing Codes 2006 fixture performance requirements. The installation of water meters is encouraged to allow for the management of water use during occupancy. The use of harvested rainwater, treated wastewater, and air conditioner condensate should also be considered and used where feasible for nonpotable use and potable use where allowed.
  • Outdoor Water. Use water efficient landscape and irrigation strategies, such as water reuse, recycling, and the use of harvested rainwater, to reduce outdoor potable water consumption by a minimum of 50 percent over that consumed by conventional means (plant species and plant densities). The installation of water meters for locations with significant outdoor water use is encouraged.

    Employ design and construction strategies that reduce storm water runoff and discharges of polluted water offsite. Per Energy Independence and Security Act Section 438 (PDF), to the maximum extent technically feasible, maintain or restore the predevelopment hydrology of the site with regard to temperature, rate, volume, and duration of flow using site planning, design, construction, and maintenance strategies.
  • 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. Specify 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, including continuous humidity control within established ranges per climate zone, and ASHRAE Standard 62.1-2007, Ventilation for Acceptable Indoor Air Quality.
  • Moisture Control. Establish and implement a moisture control strategy for controlling moisture flows and condensation to prevent building damage, minimize mold contamination, and reduce health risks related to moisture.
  • Daylighting. Achieve a minimum daylight factor of 2 percent (excluding all direct sunlight penetration) in 75 percent of all space occupied for critical visual tasks. Provide automatic dimming controls or accessible manual lighting controls, and appropriate glare control.
  • Low-Emitting Materials. Specify materials and products with low pollutant emissions, including composite wood products, adhesives, sealants, interior paints and finishes, carpet systems, and furnishings.
  • Protect Indoor Air Quality during Construction. Follow the recommended approach of the Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractor's National Association (SMACNA) Indoor Air Quality Guidelines for Occupied Buildings under Construction, 2007. After construction and prior to occupancy, conduct a minimum 72-hour flush-out with maximum outdoor air consistent with achieving relative humidity no greater than 60 percent. After occupancy, continue flush-out as necessary to minimize exposure to contaminants from new building materials.
  • Environmental Tobacco Smoke Control. Implement a policy and post signage indicating that smoking is prohibited within the building and within 25 feet of all building entrances, operable windows, and building ventilation intakes during building occupancy.

V. Reduce Environmental Impact of Materials

  • Recycled Content. Per Section 6002 of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) (PDF), for EPA-designated products, specify products meeting or exceeding EPA's recycled content recommendations. For other products, specify materials with recycled content when practicable. 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, specify products with the highest content level per USDA's biobased content recommendations. For other products, specify 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 shall 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. Incorporate adequate space, equipment, and transport accommodations for recycling in the building design. During a project's planning stage, identify local recycling and salvage operations that could process site-related construction and demolition materials. During construction, recycle or salvage at least 50 percent of the non-hazardous construction, demolition and land clearing materials, excluding soil, where markets or onsite recycling opportunities exist. Provide salvage, reuse and recycling services for waste generated from major renovations, where markets or onsite recycling opportunities exist.
  • Ozone Depleting Compounds. Eliminate the use of ozone depleting compounds during and after construction 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.