Federal Government Focuses on Sustainable Buildings

Sustainable building is here to stay, according to Kevin Kampschroer, Federal Director, General Services Administration.

"We are beyond the 'we're thinking about it' phase, beyond the early adopters phase, we're in the 20 to 30 percent total adoption, so it's not a passing fad," he said. "We operate buildings that are at 20 percent less cost in energy than private sector buildings, and that all goes to the benefit of the tax payer."

In a video interview with REIT.com at REITWorld 2011: NAREIT's Annual Convention For All Things REIT in Dallas at the Hilton Anatole hotel, Kampschroer discussed the federal government's role in sustainability.

He said the government is looking to set standards for defining high performance buildings, as well as to establish the relationship between how buildings work and how they work for the building's occupants.

"So, we are very interested in making sure the people in the buildings get what they need to out of the building and use it very effectively," Kampschroer said. "We're looking at a broad swatch of energy reduction initiatives."

One of those initiatives includes developing different techniques to ensure that information is easily accessible and usable to building owners. He said that there's a tremendous amount of research in how buildings perform that isn't being utilized by the people who are operating the building.

GSA is also working with a number of energy savings companies and discussing ways to use the federal government properties more effectively.

Kampschroer said there's an over arching initiative in the federal government that started with data center consolidation and has now moved to property in general.

"We need to use the property more effectively. We know that 50 percent of the time, an office building is empty, at any given place. We think that we can drive huge cost out of our portfolio across the government, by really rethinking how the buildings get used, use them more effectively and use less of them," he said.

Additionally Kampschroer said as the workforce changes there's a new generation of employees who are looking to work in buildings and for corporations that have done the right things in terms of energy efficiency and sustainable building practices.