New online tool helps building managers go green


A new online tool from the General Services Administration aims to make it easier for federal building managers to compare environmentally friendly options for renovation projects.

The “Sustainable Facilities Tool” released Feb. 7 features a 3-D interactive walkthrough of potential office interiors and prompts users to consider multiple aspects of office performance.

It also suggests dozens of different materials to promote sustainable workplaces.

“With this tool we are sharing GSA’s experiences using innovative tools and strategies to reduce the environmental footprint of our buildings with the rest of the government and the general public,” Stephen Leeds, GSA’s senior sustainability officer, said in a statement.

In the “evaluate” section of the online tool, users can mouse over different sections of a typical office to learn about the different ways environmentally friendly and energy efficient technologies can be incorporated into the project.

For example, users are told while moving their mouse over the employee bathrooms that “Waterless urinals save significant amounts of water, but require slightly different maintenance regimes, so janitorial staff must be trained to maintain them properly.”

Users can upload finished project designs to showcase various features of sustainability or workplace design.

Noblis, a science and technology nonprofit, worked with the U.S. Green Building Council and CTG Energetics to develop the sustainability tool for GSA.

David Evans, director for the Center for Sustainability at Noblis, said the tool is “a testament to the efficiency and effectiveness” of government and private-sector collaboration.

Evans said that the tool can also be used by federal contractors and private companies to help make their projects more sustainable.


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