The HPSB Guiding Principles for Existing Buildings


Executive Order 13514 requires at least 15% of each agency’s existing facilities and building leases (above 5,000 gross square feet) to meet the Guiding Principles by the end of fiscal year 2015. To meet this goal, most agencies must upgrade at least some portion of their existing building stock. This set of Guiding Principles is listed below, with links to technical guidance on specific topics covered in the WBDG.

Federal agencies that are assessing their existing building stock against the Guiding Principles for Sustainable Buildings can use the Guiding Principles Checklist to:

  • Conduct initial and final building walkthrough assessments
  • Track and easily view progress on each guiding principle
  • Upload compliance documents to the repository for record keeping
  • Create a portfolio-wide federal building sustainability roll-up report, and
  • Review up-to-date energy and water metrics generated by Portfolio Manager
  • Access the Guiding Principles Checklist at the ENERGY STAR® website



  1. Service Integrated Assessment, Operation, and Management Principles
  • Use an integrated team to develop and implement policy regarding sustainable operations and maintenance
  • Incorporate sustainable operations and maintenance practices within the appropriate Environmental Management System (EMS)
  • Assess existing condition and operational procedures of the building and major building systems and identify areas for improvement
  • Establish operational performance goals for energy, water, material use and recycling, and indoor environmental quality, and ensure incorporation of these goals throughout the remaining lifecycle of the building
  • Incorporate a building management plan to ensure that operating decisions and tenant education are carried out with regard to integrated, sustainable building operations and maintenance
  • Augment building operations and maintenance as needed using occupant feedback on work space satisfaction
  • Employ recommissioning, tailored to the size and complexity of the building and its system components.In addition, meet the requirements of Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA 2007), Section 432 and associated Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) guidance
  • Building recommissioning must have been performed within four years prior to reporting a building as meeting the Guiding Principles
  1. Optimize Energy Performance
  • Three options can be used to measure energy efficiency performance:
    • Option 1: Receive an ENERGY STAR® rating of 75 or higher or an equivalent Labs21 Benchmarking Tool score for laboratory buildings
    • Option 2: Reduce measured building energy use by 20% compared to building energy use in 2003 or a year thereafter with quality energy use data
    • Option 3: Reduce energy use by 20% compared to the ASHRAE 90.1-2007 baseline building design if design information is available. Use ENERGY STAR® and FEMP-designated Energy Efficient Products
    • On-Site Renewable Energy. Per E.O. 13423, implement renewable energy generation projects on agency property for agency use, when lifecycle cost effective.
    • Per the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPAct 2005) Section 103, install building level electricity meters to track and continuously optimize performance. Per the EISA 2007, the utility meters must also include natural gas and steam, where natural gas and steam are used
    • Benchmarking. Compare annual performance data with previous years’ performance data, preferably by entering annual performance data into the ENERGY STAR® Portfolio Manager. For building and space types not available in ENERGY STAR®, use an equivalent benchmarking tool such as the Labs21 benchmarking tool for laboratory buildings
  1. Protect and Conserve Water
  • Indoor Water. Measure indoor potable water use performance:
    • Option 1: Reduce potable water use by 20% compared to a water baseline calculated for the building
    • Option 2: Reduce building measured potable water use by 20% compared to building water use in 2003 or a year thereafter with quality water data
    • Outdoor Water. Measure outdoor potable water use performance:
      • Option 1: Reduce potable irrigation water use by 50% compared to conventional methods
      • Option 2: Reduce building related potable irrigation water use by 50% compared to measured irrigation water use in 2003 or a year thereafter with quality water data, or
      • Option 3: Use no potable irrigation water.
      • Measurement of Water Use. Reduce potable water use (indoor and outdoor combined) by at least 20% compared to building water use in 2003 or a year thereafter with quality water data
      • Employ strategies that reduce storm water runoff and discharges of polluted water offsite
      • Per the EPAct 2005 Section 109, when potable water is used to improve a building’s energy efficiency, deploy lifecycle cost effective water conservation measures.
      • Use EPA’s WaterSense-labeled products or other water conserving products
  1. Enhance Indoor Environmental Quality
  • Meet ASHRAE Standard 55-2004, Thermal Environmental Conditions for Human Occupancy and ASHRAE Standard 62.1-2007: Ventilation for Acceptable Indoor Air Quality.
  • Provide policy and illustrate the use of an appropriate moisture control strategy to prevent building damage, minimize mold contamination, and reduce health risks related to moisture
  • Automated lighting controls
    • Option 1: Achieve a minimum daylight factor of 2 percent (excluding all direct sunlight penetration) in 50 percent of all space occupied for critical visual tasks, or
    • Option 2: Provide occupant controlled lighting, allowing adjustments to suit individual task needs, for 50% of regularly occupied spaces.
    • Use low emitting materials for building modifications, maintenance, and cleaning
    • Use integrated pest management techniques as appropriate to minimize pesticide usage. Use EPA-registered pesticides only when needed.
    • Prohibit smoking within the building and within 25 feet of all building entrances, operable windows, and building ventilation intakes.
  1. Reduce Environmental Impact of Materials
  • Recycle content that can be
  • Products that are biobased should be disposed properly
  • Use products that have a lesser or reduced effect on human health and the environment over their lifecycle
  • Provide reuse and recycling services for building occupants. Salvage, reuse and recycling services for waste generated from building operations, maintenance, repair and minor renovations, and discarded furnishings, equipment and property
  • Ozone Depleting Compounds. Eliminate the use of ozone depleting compounds where alternative environmentally preferable products are available, consistent with either the Montreal Protocol and Title VI of the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990, or equivalent overall air quality benefits that take into account lifecycle impacts.


For more information about The HPSB Building Principles for Major Renovations and New Construction visit

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