The Navy has adopted a policy of building to the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold standard for new construction. Navy Secretary Ray Mabus announced the new policy at the U.S. Green Building Council’s annual Government Summit May 10 in Washington, D.C.
Beginning in fiscal 2013, LEED Gold will be required for every new Navy and Marine Corp. military construction project, Mabus said. For every new building that is going to bid in fiscal 2011 and FY’12, the department will require a LEED Gold option package whereby “if we can get it in in the contract price and it doesn’t involve a significant delay, we will execute the LEED Gold option as part of the normal design and construction process,” he noted.
In the near term, the new policy will not apply to residential structures as most base housing falls under a public-private partnership.
Mabus believes that the standard can be met without the need for additional funding. “We’re going to use exactly the amount we’ve got in the budget for the next five years. It shouldn’t cost anymore, particularly in this economic environment, to build buildings that are sustainable than it does to build buildings that are not. It’s going to require some creative contracting and some creative building in construction practices, but I’m absolutely confident that we’ll be able to do it.”
The department additionally has pledged to derive at least half of its energy from non-fossil-fuel sources by 2020. Also by 2020, at least half of the Navy’s bases will be a net-zero energy user, Mabus said.
The Navy currently has about 72,500 buildings, and about 100 new Navy buildings open each year, Paul Macapagal, a department spokesperson, told Green Building Insider. Almost half of the department’s buildings meet LEED Gold standards with all of the remaining structures meeting LEED Silver standards. Several hundred other Navy buildings are registered and awaiting certification.
“We’re committed, like [USGBC], to building the most energy-efficient, sustainable buildings that we can,” Mabus said. “That effort started last year with our Advanced Metering Initiative which, when we’re finished, we’re going to have 27,000 smart meters nationwide at our bases.”
Mabus additionally pointed out that his department’s energy code is 16 percent more stringent than the most stringent code in any U.S. state.