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Guiding Principles for Sustainable Federal Buildings


Total Workplace Scorecard

Looking for GSA's Total Workplace Scorecard for compliance with the Guiding Principles?

View Section 2 (Health, Comfort, and Performance)

Decorative image of the six Guiding Principles

Congress has enacted a range of statutory provisions relating to high-performance sustainable buildings, as well as energy, water and environmental goals and requirements that are advanced by the implementation of sustainable Federal buildings within an agency’s portfolio. These goals are reflected in the Guiding Principles for Sustainable Federal Buildings and Associated Instructionsopens in new window, which can help agencies meet federal mandates related to sustainable bulding design, construction, and operation.

A 2018 GSA study found that high-performance buildings meeting the Guiding Principles save energy and water, cost less to operate, produce less waste, and have more satisfied occupants compared with typical buildings.

In 2002, a Task Force of the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), adopted sustainable buildings as one of its six priority areas and published a report, "The Federal Commitment to Green Building: Experiences and Expectations". The Guiding Principles for Sustainable Federal Buildings (Guiding Principles) were established in 2006 in a Memorandum of Understanding signed by Federal agencies at the White House. CEQ subsequently issued the Guiding Principles and associated instructions in 2008. The Guiding Principles as well as the associated instructions were then updated in 2016 and most recently in 2020.

 

Getting Started

The Guiding Principles for Sustainable Federal Buildings and Associated Instructions issued in December 2020 consist of a base document with six appendices. The following steps are recommended to help you navigate this guidance:

Sustainable Federal Building Requirements and Certification Standards

For agencies choosing to use third-party building certification systems, GSA has developed resources to assist agencies in identifying specific credits within each third-party system that may align with meeting various statutory and regulatory requirements, as referenced in the Guiding Principles for Sustainable Federal Buildings and Associated Instructions (December 2020). These GSA resources are provided for informational purposes; agencies remain responsible for ensuring that meeting the credits indicated also result in meeting the relevant statutory and regulatory requirements.

GSA Total Workplace Scorecard

In Appendix B - Checklist for Existing Buildings, Guiding Principle Criteria 4.9 (Occupant Health and Wellness) provides agencies with the option to demonstrate that they have met the criteria by completing Section 2 of GSA’s Total Workplace Scorecard. The section consists of 74 multiple choice questions, including extra credit, with instructions and resources.

You can complete the scorecard on SFTool - just select the Section 2 template.

Click image below to start a scorecard
Screenshot of the Total Workplace Scorecard

Full Documents

Guiding Principles for Sustainable Federal Buildings and Associated Instructionsopens in new window

Appendix A: Assessing a Building Using the Guiding Principles Federal Criteria Checklist for New Construction and Modernization (NC&M)opens in new window

Appendix B: Assessing a Building Using the Guiding Principles Federal Criteria Checklist for Existing Buildings (EB)opens in new window

Appendix C: Assessing a New Construction, Modernization, Major Renovation or Existing Building Using Third-Party Building Certification Systemsopens in new window

Appendix D: Assessing a Building Using the Guiding Principles for Sustainable Federal Buildings Reassessment Criteria Checklistopens in new window

Appendix E: Sustainable Buildings Reporting Instructionsopens in new window

Appendix F: Definitionsopens in new window

Resources

Life Cycle Cost Resources
Checklist Resources

These resources for New Construction and Existing Buildings are referenced and linked throughout the Guiding Principles for Sustainable Federal Buildings and Associated Instructions (December 2020).

 
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Related Topics


Guiding Principles for Sustainable Federal Buildings

The Guiding Principles for Sustainable Federal Buildings and Associated Instructions are a set of sustainable principles for integrated design, energy performance, water conservation, indoor environmental quality, materials, and resilience aimed at helping Federal agencies and organizations:

  • Reduce the total ownership cost of facilities
  • Improve energy efficiency and water conservation
  • Provide safe, healthy, and productive built environments
  • Promote sustainable environmental stewardship

Guiding Principles for Sustainable Federal Buildings and Associated Instructions

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