A recent National Research Council study of the Defense Dept.'s use of green-building certification systems concludes DOD should continue its current practices. They including using the U.S. Green Building Council Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), the Green Building Initiative Green Globes and other rating systems.

But the authors of the NRC report also say that DOD should improve its evaluations of how its facilities actually perform in energy-efficiency and other green areas.

The study found that although most certified green or high-performance buildings generally perform better than conventional buildings, some do not. Similarly, the report says some of the modeling used for energy and water use in the certification programs for new buildings typically overestimate how well the buildings will perform.

The report recommends that DOD consider "actual use" modeling, which incorporates change orders and other construction imperfections into the models used during the design and construction processes.

Lane Burt, USGBC policy director, says the NRC report reaffirms that green-building certification systems result in better-performing buildings. He adds that several benchmarking systems exist and that the LEED for Existing Buildings rating system can be used to measure performance.