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Sustainability Program Development

Sustainability Programs incorporate all building stakeholders into the green design process, promoting awareness, goal development, implementation, acceptance, and effectiveness of facility sustainability efforts.

Implementation of sustainability programs can be challenging, especially when starting from scratch. Institutional change may be necessary to begin a program, or to help define an existing program’s scope and effectiveness. The U.S. Department of Energy details the change process here. Steps include goal determination, tools to achieve the goals, action plan development, plan implementation, and evaluation of results. Several case studies shed light on action plans and energy savings that can be accomplished through energy management systems. GSA’s Green Teams engage all stakeholders in the building, and GSA has provided a guide on Green Teams from their creation to their roles and responsibilities.

Any sustainability program should begin with consideration of its most critical component: the people in the building. From there, building operators, contractors, and other staff can be involved to introduce best-management practices consistent with industry standards. Take a look at the integrative design process for guidance on developing sustainability-related programs. Development of sustainability programs in a facility is crucial to acceptance of energy management techniques implemented through an Energy Management System. For example, programs could include the following:

These programs benefit all parties involved, from reduced operating costs to improved tenant satisfaction, while furthering environmental sustainability.

Related Topics

Building Performance

Building performance can be measured against various environmental and economic attributes. A key to evaluating building performance is establishing a common set of measurements to be used. Sustainable building standards often consider environmental performance in categories including, energy, water, indoor environmental quality, materials use, waste management, as well as economic performance, such as life-cycle costs.

Guiding Principles for Sustainable Federal Buildings

ASHRAE’s Performance Measurement Protocols

Energy Management Systems (EnMS)

Energy Management Systems are a set of business processes that enable facility managers to act on energy usage data and optimize efficiency while identifying areas for improvement.

For more, see Energy Management Systems and DOE Better Building's Toolkit.

Energy Performance

Assessing a building’s energy performance involves comparing its energy use to that of peers or a standard. The ENERGY STAR program provides recognized benchmarks for assessing a building’s energy performance.


Sustainability and sustainable mean to create and maintain conditions, under which humans and nature can exist inproductive harmony, that permit fulfilling the social, economic,and other requirements of present and future generations.


Did You Know?

Energy savings performance contracts (ESPCs) allow federal agencies to implement cost-saving facility energy improvements with no up-front capital costs. Source: U.S. DOE Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP), Energy Savings Performance Contracts for Federal Agencies

Case Study

Sense of Place

Skylight and Sculpture

What makes a workplace special? What fosters a sense of attachment, engagement and identity? These are the kinds of questions that underlie the sense of place. The workplace is increasingly seen as a “brand” that conveys not only a place, but also the mission and values of the organization. The GSA workplace program combines branding and sense of place with sustainable approaches to create special places imbued with meaning and purpose.

View Case Study

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