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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 barr...

  • 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 r...

  • 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 green building innovations is to point to others’ experience in implementing these innovat...
  • 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 ...

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 - Thermal Comfort

    Providing thermal comfort controllability can be achieved in a number of ways. Individual controls, such as thermostats, local diffusers, variable v...

  • 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 CIEB

    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 - CIEB

    Are there the following water-conserving fixtures: high-efficiency toilets that use less than 1.6 GPF? Ultra low flush urinals that use less than 1....

  • 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 CIEB addresses a healthy indoor environment through questions pertaining to the ventilation system, filtration system, humidification s...

  • 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

    Temperature studies have found that performance of office work tasks is maximized when air temperature is approximately between 70 °F to 73 °...

  • 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...

  • 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...

  • 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...

  • 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...