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Learn & Plan Topics

  • Occupant Comfort

    Comfortable workers are more likely to be productive and engaged with their work than those who struggle to work in spaces that create barriers and ...
  • Building Systems Upgrades

    This page details Sustainable Strategies to consider as your space undergoes a building system upgrade to improve energy, water use, and occupant co...
  • Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ)

    Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ) is most simply described as the conditions inside the building. It includes air quality, but also access to da...

  • Sustainable Sites

    Choosing a building's site and managing that site during construction are important to ensure a project's sustainability. Environmentally responsibl...
  • Adaptable Workplace Laboratory

    This case study provides an in-depth look at using flexible interiors to design for adaptability
  • IEQ and Asthma

    Indoor contaminants such as dust mites, molds, cockroaches, pet dander, secondhand smoke and some chemicals can trigger asthma attacks. One in 11...

  • Flexible Workplace Design

    Today’s workplaces are often in flux. Organizations change direction or develop new services. People move to new sp...

  • Health

    Good health has both physical and psychological components. Being healthy means the absence of disease and illness, as well as feeling posi...

  • Materials, Furniture, and Furnishings Replacement

    Daily wear and tear means that materials, furniture and furnishings require periodic replacement.

  • Space Reconfiguration and Renovation Projects

    As needs change over time, tenants often need to convert space or phase the conversion of individual space or rooms to meet these changing needs....

  • Under 10,000 SF Interiors Gut Rehab Project

    This page provides Sustainable Strategies to consider as a space has or will undergo a major tenant gut rehab for projects under 10,000 SF.

  • Building Operations and Maintenance Services

    Follow these sustainable strategies as your space renovations are complete and the building and interiors are operated in an environmentally sustai...
  • Plug Loads

    Plug loads refer to energy used by equipment that is plugged into an outlet. In an office, key plug loads include computer and monitors, printers...

  • Enhancing Resilience and Reducing Vulnerability to Observed and Expected Changes in Climate

    Adapting to observed and expected changes in climate is a complex, long term process that requires personnel to work together across their organizat...
  • Policies & Strategies

    This section is devoted to the broad policies and strategies covering the whole government or entire agencies, services or bureaus, which set the co...
  • Best Practices & Case Studies

    One of the best ways to learn and make the case for high-performance building innovations is to point to others’ experience in implementing th...
  • Responsible Business Conduct

    This responsible business conduct module provides a framework for how best practices and resources for improving business conduct can be incorporate...
  • Framework for Managing Climate Risks to Federal Agency Supply Chains

    GSA developed this supply chain risk management framework to provide guidance to Federal agencies ready to assess climate or weather-related risks t...
  • Buildings and Health

    The challenge for building design and operations is to identify and eliminate health risks while also providing positive physical, emotional, and...

  • The Importance of Daylight

    While many people prefer to be in spaces with abundant daylight, a critical question is to what extent the benefits of daylight matter to those who ...
  • Biophilic Design

    Learn why nature is so important to us, what we know about the benefits of nature, and how biophilia is being applied in buildings, particularly in ...
  • Enhancing Health with Indoor Air

    Four key levers to enhance health and performance by improving indoor air.

Daylight Controls

Daylight controls measure the amount of daylight/ambient light in a room and adjust the electric light levels accordingly. Daylight controls should be designed with multiple zones to reflect the differing levels of ambient light entering a space. In areas closest to the window where there is a great deal of daylight in the space, the controls dim the electric light levels; and in areas farther away from the window with lower levels of daylight, the controls increase the amount of electric light in the space.

Whole Building Systems

  • IEQ - EPA | Energy Cost and IAQ Performance of Ventilation Systems and Controls

    https://www.epa.gov/indoor-air-quality-iaq/ventilation-systems-and-controls-study

  • Lighting - Guiding Principles for Sustainable Federal Buildings: New Construction and Modernization

    The lighting systems must be commissioned, and integrative design processes should be employed. A 30% reduction in energy use compared to ASHRAE ...

  • IEQ - Lighting Control

    Incorporating task lights into the overall lighting strategy allows occupants to customize their ambient light conditions on a personalized basis. T...

  • IEQ - Moisture Control

    Moisture can enter the office building in a number of ways, including leaks in the building envelope and plumbing systems or excessive moisture in t...

  • IEQ - Guiding Principles for Sustainable Federal Buildings: Existing Buildings

    Upgrade buildings to meet ASHRAE Standard 55 and either 62.1 or 62.2 Recommended actions include moisture control policies, maximized daylighting...

  • Lighting - Green Tips Behavior

    Provide placards explaining the principles of automated light controls so users understand when and how it is appropriate to override those controls...

  • Lighting - Green Tips

    Control purchasing and inventory to ensure that only the right replacement components are available.

  • Lighting - Example Survey Questions

    Are lighting controls being integrated?

  • Lighting - Example Survey Questions

    Have the energy-efficient lighting systems and controls been commissioned?

  • HVAC - Green Tips and Behavior

    Provide individual air and temperature controls at each workstation.

  • HVAC - Green Tips and Strategies

    Use controls to properly sequence chillers.

  • HVAC - EQp2

    Environmental Tobacco Smoke Control

  • HVAC - EQp2

    Environmental Tobacco Smoke Control

  • HVAC - EQp2

    Environmental Tobacco Smoke Control

  • Water - Green Tips

    Consider instituting cathodic protection for metal components such as pipes and tanks to control corrosion.

  • IEQ - Green Tips

    Integrate task lighting and thermal controls to leverage human behavior to promote IEQ.

  • IEQ - Green Tips

    Keep relative humidity below 60% to control mold and 50% to control dust mites at all times, including unoccupied hours.

  • IEQ - Green Tips

    Practice source control by specifying low-emitting cleaning materials and integrating entryway capture systems.

  • IEQ - EQp2

    Environmental Tobacco Smoke (ETS) Control

  • IEQ - EQp2

    Environmental Tobacco Smoke (ETS) Control

  • IEQ - EQp2

    Environmental Tobacco Smoke (ETS) Control

  • IEQ - Example Questions

    Is there a requirement that there be moisture control in the building to prevent mold?

  • Planted Roof - GreenGlobes NC

    Is there a Stormwater Management Report by a Civil Engineer that shows that: The project meets municipal and/or local watershed flood and erosion co...

  • Lighting - Guiding Principles for Sustainable Federal Buildings: Existing Buildings

    Assessing existing lighting conditions and incorporating a building management plan to ensure lighting component upgrades are carried out as desig...

  • HVAC - Occupant

    The occupant has a great impact on HVAC-related energy use. Individual controls help ensure comfort for those in the building. Occupants without t...

  • HVAC - Guiding Principles for Sustainable Federal Buildings: New Construction and Modernization

    HVAC systems must be commissioned, and integrative design principles should be employed. A 30% reduction in energy use compared to ASHRAE Standa...

  • IEQ - Guiding Principles for Sustainable Federal Buildings: New Construction and Modernization

    Adhere to ASHRAE Standard 55 and either 62.1 or 62.2 Control moisture to minimize mold contamination and building damage. Maximize daylighting,...

  • IEQ - Case1

    Finding: $2 billion estimated annual value of work performance gains from avoiding high temperatures in the winter.Scope: Lawrence Berkeley National...

  • IEQ - Case3

    Finding: $3.4 billion annual economic benefit, with $0.4 billion implementation costs, through integration of thermal occupant controls.Scope: Lawre...

  • Submetering - Green Globes NC

    Is there sub-metering installed for the following systems: light and lighting controls by floor or by zones, plug loads by floor or by zone, major e...

  • Water - Civil Engineer

    Civil engineers provide engineering expertise for the water related aspects of the building site, including how on-site water is supplied to the bui...

  • Lighting - Green Tips

    Commission all lighting systems including controls to ensure they are performing as required and create a retro-commissioning to maintain the desire...

  • Lighting - Green Tips Behavior

    Use lighting controls that dynamically adjust lighting levels according to ambient levels while allowing manual override if desired.

  • Lighting - Green Tips Behavior

    Provide placards explaining how blinds are best used to control glare to avoid over shading and preventing daylight from entering the space.

  • Lighting - Green Tips Impact

    Control uncomfortable glare and heat gain using internal shading devices such as louvers, shades, or blinds and exterior shading strategies such as ...

  • Lighting - Green Tips Impact

    Provide occupants with ways to make meaningful changes to their lighting environments through personalization of task lighting and manual overrides ...

  • Lighting - Green Tips

    Perform periodic maintenance of control systems to ensure optimized performance to avoid unwanted behavior by occupants to bypass the system.

  • Lighting - Green Tips

    Retro-commission lighting controls to ensure that they continue to work as expected and are not obscured by new furniture arrangements.

  • Lighting - Example Survey Questions

    Is there a requirement that daylight should be maximized by appropriate window placement, size, glazing type and controls?

  • Lighting - Example Survey Questions

    Does the building incorporate any of the following high-efficiency lighting features: compact fluorescents, T8 or T5 fluorescent lamps, exit signs w...

  • HVAC - Green Tips and Strategies

    Evaluate the use of access floors with displacement ventilation for flexibility, personal comfort control, and energy savings.

  • HVAC - Green Tips and Behavior

    Employ demand-control ventilation, tied to CO2 monitors, to deliver just the right amount of outdoor air.

  • HVAC - Green Tips and Strategies

    Perform periodic maintenance of control systems to ensure optimized performance to avoid unwanted behavior by occupants to bypass the system.

  • Water - Green Tips

    Implement water efficient irrigation equipment such as drip or micro irrigation and   advanced weather based controls for landscaping that...

  • Planted Roof - Green Globes for Existing Buildings

    Are there indications that the site has been enhanced, such as an increase of indigenous species, the re-establishment of vegetation corridors or th...

  • Lighting - Optimize Daylighting

    Large windows can provide daylight to interior spaces, but the daylight can be best used when complementary technologies are employed. Lighting cont...

  • HVAC - System Adjustments

    The most frequently cited measures/opportunities are: Adjust reset and set-back temperatures and temperature settings – Settings are often adjust...

  • Water - Cooling Tower

    Water leaves the cooling tower system through evaporation, blow-downdrift, and basin leaks and overflows, and therefore has to be replaced. Since co...

  • Lighting - Green Tips

    Limit the use of accent lighting. Couple necessary accent lighting applications with lighting controls to ensure highlighted objects are illuminated...

  • Lighting - Green Tips Behavior

    Facilitate the transition from a passive occupant to an active participant through training and incentives. Where appropriate, account for passive ...

  • HVAC - Green Tips and Strategies

    Analyze room configurations and HVAC distribution layouts to ensure all parts of a room are receiving adequate ventilation, especially spaces where ...

  • Water - Green Globes for Existing Buildings

    Are there the following water-conserving fixtures: low flow toilets that use less than 1.5 GPF? Ultra low flush urinals that use less than 1.0 GPF? ...

  • HVAC - Energy Use

    HVAC consumes an average of 30% of a facility’s energy use.1 Much of that use is wasted, at times right through the front door. Other times t...

  • Submetering - Impact on Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ)

    Submetering systems help to improve resource efficiency and conservation practices in a building, which can be used to improve indoor environmental ...

  • Lighting - Energy Use

    By consuming 17% of the building’s total electricity consumption and further influencing overall energy demand by the waste heat it emits, lig...

  • Lighting - System Bundling

    When specifying or replacing a particular lighting component, consider coordinating that component with other related building equipment. Lighting t...

  • Lighting - LEED O+M: Existing Buildings (v4)

    Leadership in Environmental and Energy Design for Operations & Maintenance: Existing Buildings (LEED O+M: EB) addresses lighting systems through...

  • Lighting - LEED ID+C: Commercial Interiors (v4)

    LEED ID+C: Commercial Interiors emphasizes daylight as a beneficial lighting strategy for the whole building. The rating system puts a preference on...

  • Lighting - LEED BD+C: New Construction (v4)

    Limiting light trespass and resulting sky-glow from inefficient outdoor lighting is addressed in LEED, among other lighting-specific categories. Red...

  • Lighting - Green Globes New Construction (NC)

    Green Globes certification for NC projects directly necessitates a sustainable lighting strategy in the categories of Site, Energy, and Indoor Envir...

  • HVAC - LEED ID+C: Commercial Interiors (v4)

    LEED for Interior Design & Construction (ID+C): Commercial Interiors is intended for certification of spaces smaller than the whole building. Ev...

  • IEQ - Mobility

    Modern office policies and technologies enable mobility as a means for the occupant to seek out desirable environmental conditions. Mobile laptops a...

  • IEQ - LEED BD+C: New Construction (v4)

    Leadership in Environmental and Energy Design (LEED) for Building Design and Construction (BD+C) highlights indoor environmental quality in a fully ...

  • IEQ - Green Globes for Existing Buildings (EB)

    Green Globes for Existing Buildings addresses a healthy indoor environment through questions pertaining to the ventilation system, filtration system...

  • Planted Roof - Planted Roof Professional

    Planted Roof Professionals can offer unique insights into the the best practices for optimizing planted roof benefits according to project goals. Th...

  • Lighting - Lighting Designer/Engineer

    The lighting engineer is responsible for ensuring that all lighting regulations are met, interior and exterior spaces are sufficiently and elegantly...

  • Lighting - Comfort/Mood

    Creating a sustainable and well-functioning lighting strategy by integrating efficient lighting technologies, controls, and space layout has been sh...

  • Lighting - Financial

    When employing sustainable lighting strategies, financial benefits can be realized from several sources including energy savings from proper control...

  • Lighting - Energy Policy Act of 1992

    The Energy Policy Act of 1992 (EPAct 1992) amended the National Energy Consumption Policy Act and gave federal agencies the authority to enter into ...

  • HVAC - Human Behavior on HVAC

    Human behavior and interaction with the building space plays a critical component in achieving holistic sustainability. Desired gains in energy effi...

  • HVAC - HVAC Impact on Humans

    Providing high quality thermal and ventilation comfort as part of Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ) in commercial offices is a high priority for fe...

  • HVAC - Financial

    When employing sustainable HVAC strategies, financial benefits can be realized from several sources, including energy savings from proper controls, ...

  • IEQ - Resources

    The resource impacted greatest from indoor environmental quality is not energy, water, or physical materials themselves; it’s the occupants th...

  • IEQ - Facility Manager

    By establishing green cleaning contracts and purchasing agreements that specify environmentally-friendly cleaning and office materials, the facility...

  • IEQ - Lighting Engineer

    The lighting engineer, in cooperation with the rest of the integrative team, should ensure as much natural daylight permeates the space as possible....

  • IEQ - Interior Designer

    Interior space not only impacts materials and resource use, but also is critical to human performance through safe and healthy interiors that promo...

  • IEQ - Controllability

    Occupant comfort can be optimized by providing high levels of individual or group controllability with regard to ambient air, lighting, and sound. T...

  • IEQ - Daylight / Views

    Providing daylight access and views for occupants is important in reaching performance goals as part of the IEQ strategy. According to a study done ...

  • HVAC - Utility Demand Charges

    Your electricity bill tends to have several line items, such as costs for generation, distribution, and taxes. Some of these are related to consump...

  • IEQ - Thermal Comfort

    Thermal conditions, which include air temperature, relative humidity, and velocity, greatly impact overall occupant comfort and associated productiv...

  • Solid Waste - Green Construction Policy and Waste Management Plan

    Through a Green Construction Policy and Waste Management Plan, a project team can effectively plan for and take steps to minimize the amount of non-...

  • Planted Roof - Occupant Satisfaction

    The term "biophilia", meaning love of nature, is increasingly being used in high-performance building design. The goal of biomimicry is to recreate ...

  • Lighting - Occupant Behavior on Energy Efficiency

    Occupant behavior plays a critical role in achieving the designed energy efficiency of lighting systems. Energy modeling accuracies can often vary b...

  • IEQ - Temperature

    To optimize worker performance, treat indoor air temperature to remain within the range of 70 °F to 73 °F.1 Providing thermal controls to al...

  • Lighting - O&M

    A lighting upgrade can cut energy bills, improve the look of a facility, and boost employee morale, but all those benefits can fade away if the new ...

  • HVAC - Systems Optimization

    There is a good chance your building systems are not operating at their peak efficiency. The reasons for this are many, including but not limited to...

  • Water - Landscaping and Irrigation

    Water used for landscaping and irrigation purposes accounts for close to 20% of a facility’s overall consumption and should be limited as much...

  • Lighting - System Overview

    Lighting accounts for nearly 20% of the total electricity costs of commercial buildings in the United States.1 Effective lighting systems invol...

  • Lighting - Lighting Impact on Occupants

    Lighting Ecosystem Lighting in the workplace can be better understood as an ecosystem that includes lighting design as just one component of a netw...

  • IEQ - System Overview

    Americans spend approximately 90 percent of their time indoors1 and as a result their comfort, health, and work performance rely heavily on indoor e...

  • Water - Alternate Water Sources

    Alternate water sources are not from freshwater such as surface or groundwater. Alternate water is typically collected and stored on-site and then ...

Materials

  • Thermostat

    A thermostat is a component of the HVAC controls system. Detection and communication of the space temperature is a critical component of overall HV...
  • Daylight Controls

    Daylight controls measure the amount of daylight/ambient light in a room and adjust the electric light levels accordingly. Daylight controls shou...
  • Lighting Control Software

    Lighting can be controlled using comprehensive software that offers some of the following tools. Load shedding controls will turn off nonessential...
  • Manual Control

    Most plug-loads can be manually powered down with built-in power buttons, shutdown procedures, or a control device that energizes and de-energizes e...
  • Schedule Timer Control Device

    Certain plug-loads have predictable load profiles. These devices are used during the same times each day or at regular intervals. A scheduling-contr...
  • Load-Sensing Control Device

    Plug loads may have a primary-secondary relationship. A primary device, such as a computer, operates independently of other (slave) devices. A secon...
  • Occupancy-Control Device

    Occupancy control can save a great deal of energy as it energizes outlets only when users are present and de-energizes them when the space is vacan...
  • Manual-On, Vacancy-Off Control Device

    A manual-on, vacancy-off control device is a slight modification of the occupancy-control device. It energizes a plug-load when it receives manual i...
  • Manual Light Switch

    Manual light switches are typically wall mounted switches that control lighting within a room.
  • Occupant Sensor

    Occupant controls use sensors to deter...
  • Timer

    Timer controls can be set to turn lights on and off at certain times, therefore specifying the duration of time the lights will be turned on.
  • Handwashing Sink

    Small hand-washing sinks are required for cafeteria staff and in food preparation areas. Select faucets or sinks that carry a Wa...
  • Skylights / Solar Tubes

    Skylights/light tubes allow daylight to penetrate into a space. They are typically located in the roof/ceiling and can vary in s...
  • Automatic Low-Power State

    The first, and in some cases most effective, control method is a built-in, automatic low-power state functionality such as standby or sleep. Some ma...
  • Ceiling Fans

    Ceiling fans can offer occupants the ability to control ambient comfort without making adjustments to the room, zone, or building mechanical system....
  • Toilet / Shower Accessories

    Toilet and shower accessories include soap dispensers, soap dishes, hand dryers, paper towel dispensers, trash cans, etc. These items may contain...
  • Task Lighting

    Task lights are designed to provide the occupant control of the light levels in their workspace. They illuminate specific work areas and allow fo...
  • Sound boots

    Sound-boots are integrated into the duct-work between the office walls in the ceiling. The duct work is often shaped like a boot. If properly speci...
  • Blinds

    Blinds are versatile window coverings. Blinds block or reduce sunlight penetration through windows. They are made with either vertical or horizontal...
  • Interior Light Shelves

    Interior light shelves direct daylight deep into a space by bouncing natural light from the light-colored shelves up to the ceiling, where it is r...
  • Skylights / Solar Tubes

    Skylights/light tubes allow daylight to penetrate into a space. They are typically located in the roof/ceiling and can vary in size. Certain solar...
  • Metering / Sensor-operated

    Metering faucets dispense water for a pre-determined period of time. Combined with a high-efficiency aerator, metering faucets deliver a pre-d...
  • Low-Flow Shower

    Low-Flow showerheads are based upon the Energy Policy Act of 1992 (EPAct 1992) and use 2.5 gallons of water per minute gpm. Relative to earlier ...
  • Perimeter Units

    Known by a number of commons terms such as "induction units," "window units," and "floor units," perimeter HVAC units bring conditioned air out to t...