On February, 26, 2016, the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) issued the 2016 version of the Guiding Principles for Sustainable Federal Buildings along with the following documents:

The 2016 Guiding Principles update and replace the December 2008 Guiding Principles with the intent to reflect the evolution of sustainable building design, construction, and operating practices since 2008 and to better incorporate other building-related Executive Order 13693 requirements.

The Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) will be working with CEQ and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to produce updated resources, guidance, and training (both online and on-site) and will be releasing information about proposed modifications to ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager to accommodate the 2016 Guiding Principles.

Key Elements

Here are some key elements of the 2016 Guiding Principles.

  • The 2008 Guiding Principles can continue to be used to qualify both new construction and existing buildings as meeting the Guiding Principles where agencies have already completed the project design or taken significant/substantial progress in transforming the building to meet the Guiding Principles.
    • For existing buildings, completion of project design or the issuance of contracts that will result in meeting at least half of the required Guiding Principles, elements, and sub-elements is evidence of significant action and substantial progress. This group of existing buildings can apply the 2008 Guiding Principles to certify a building as meeting the Guiding Principles through September 30, 2017.
    • The 2008 Guiding Principles for new construction and modernization requirements can be used only to qualify any new building or modernization where project design has been completed before the issuance of the 2016 Guiding Principles.
  • Buildings that were determined to have met the 2008 Guiding Principles are considered to meet the Guiding Principles through fiscal year (FY) 2025 as long as they continue to meet ongoing requirements such as Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA) section 432 requirements, including quadrennial evaluations, ongoing commissioning, benchmarking, and operating and maintenance requirements.
  • The Guiding Principles for new construction and modernization apply to all new federally owned buildings with more than 5,000 square feet. For existing buildings, agencies must ensure that they meet the Guiding Principles with at least 15% of their existing buildings (either by building or by square footage) no later than FY 2025.
  • Leases will no longer be required to be in compliance with the Guiding Principles.
  • There is a new sixth Guiding Principle to address climate resilience in building design, construction, and operations, and to protect federal facilities investments from the potential impacts of climate change.

Crosswalk Guidance Documents

To assist agencies with the transition between the 2008 Guiding Principles and the updated 2016 Guiding Principles, FEMP developed two crosswalk guidance documents to explain and highlight the differences between the 2016 and 2008 versions of the Guiding Principles for existing buildings and new construction and modernization.

These crosswalks are based on the evaluation criteria included in the Guiding Principles compliance document  and provide an overall comparison of the major scoring and applicability changes between the two versions. They walk through each of the 2016 Guiding Principles and highlight major changes or significant new requirements.