The controversy over LEED has spilled over into the federal buildings sector. In late 2010, the U.S. General Services Administration—which has more than 361 million sq ft of space in 9,600 federally owned and leased facilities—began requiring LEED Gold for all new federal buildings and major renovations. For GSA's leased properties, LEED Silver is still the requirement for new construction of 10,000 sq ft or more.

ACC and other groups are up in arms over the GSA requirements, which are based on LEED 2009. Among other things, they maintain the requirements give the USGBC a monopoly.

"GSA should recommend the use of more than one rating system," says Keith Christman, managing director of plastics and markets for the Washington, D.C.-based ACC. And GSA needs to use a rating system that is an ANSI standard.

GSA is mandated to evaluate rating systems every five years. It is currently reviewing three green building certification systems: LEED 2009, Green Globes and the Living Building Challenge. Because LEED v.4 is not issued, GSA has not evaluated its content.

As part of the review process, GSA is convening key federal portfolio holders to evaluate and make recommendations on the role of green-building certification systems in advancing high performance in the federal real estate portfolio. An ad hoc review group, co-chaired by GSA and the Depts. of Energy and Defense, will develop findings taking into account interrelationships among green-building certification systems and recently promulgated green-building standards; metrics to inform building-performance tracking and reporting; and the cost effectiveness of implementing green measures.

Two public listening sessions have been held to date. The review group's draft findings will be shared later this summer through a notice-and-comment period in the Federal Register.

Following public comment later this year, GSA, DOD and DOE will develop a formal recommendation on how green-building certification systems can be used to facilitate high-performance buildings in the federal sector.