Enabling Sustainable Building Portfolios

Guidehouse enabled a large federal agency to reduce and monitor greenhouse gas emissions and apply sustainable principles across its building inventory

Challenge

A large US federal agency was struggling to implement the guiding principles for High Performance Sustainable Buildings across its large portfolio of buildings as required by a former executive order. The order required the agency to apply the principles, which addressed integrated design, energy performance, water conservation, indoor environmental quality, and building materials/waste, to at least 15% of its existing owned inventory for buildings greater than 5,000 square feet. Because the agency was not able to demonstrate interim progress to the Office of Management and Budget, the agency engaged Guidehouse to baseline their inventory and design an action plan to help achieve the 15% target.

Solution

In addition to supporting compliance, the agency wanted to reduce the total ownership cost of the facilities while providing safe, healthy, and productive workplaces. After completing a current state assessment, Guidehouse designed an action plan which included the following core initiatives:

  • Policy and Guidance: Facilitate environmental, energy, and sustainability progress through policy and guidance development and deployment
  • Green Lease Management: Identify opportunities to acquire sustainable buildings within the leased portfolio
  • Energy and Water Management: Collect, manage, and report energy and water data to baseline and identify energy and water reduction opportunities; and prepare these calculations for greenhouse gas (GHG) reporting

Guidehouse also incorporated change management initiatives into the sustainability program to encourage people to contribute to the success of the portfolio’s buildings, which is essential even with facility management employing continuous commissioning.

Impact

As a result of Guidehouse’s support, the agency was able to develop the first GHG baseline for its buildings and establish mitigation activities to reduce GHG emissions. The client was able to update policy and guidance to support the future acquisition of sustainable buildings, while identifying upcoming lease renewals as targets for future sustainable buildings. In addition, the agency deployed a guiding principles checklist to engage discussions with existing property owners to benchmark performance and identify collaboration opportunities to improve buildings’ performance. Guidehouse’s work also enabled the client to monitor real property sustainability performance through a newly released dashboard.

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