National Academy affirms DoD’s use of LEED

Dan Winters
Study finds that green buildings provide long-term economic savings, and positive returns on investment.

In the National Academy of Sciences study released in February 2013, an expert panel of the National Research Council evaluated the energy efficiency and sustainability standards used by the US Department of Defense [DoD]. The National Academy of Science’s top recommendation was to reconfirm DoD’s use of LEED for new buildings or major renovations. To directly support their primary recommendation, the NRC states:

The preponderance of available evidence indicates that green building certification systems and their referenced building standards offer frameworks for reducing energy and water use in buildings, compared to design approaches and practices used for conventional buildings.

Beyond affirming DoD’s use of LEED, other key findings by the Academy include:

  1. Green buildings provide long-term economic savings for the DoD and value to the US taxpayers.
  2. LEED projects provide positive net returns on investment at all certification levels across the range of project costs documented in the literature.
  3. LEED provides an open-source language as a framework that is widely-accepted for goal-setting, performance and accountability.
  4. LEED provides systematic third-party review and transparency at the project level [when appropriate].
  5. Long-term asset performance requires active management performed by skilled, engaged professionals in over the course of the asset lifecycle.
Dan Winters
Dan Winters is USGBC's Senior Fellow for Business Strategy and Finance