The U.S. Green Building Council’s annual Federal Summit convened yesterday in Washington, D.C., for a daylong exchange of ideas on how to best meet the goals of increased sustainability in existing buildings and communities. High level officials from throughout the federal sector, including Senior White House Advisor Nancy Sutley, Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, discussed topics such as leveraging the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to achieve environmental goals, implementing technical solutions to meet the energy efficiency goals set out in Energy Independence and Security Act and updates on LEED and other USGBC activities. The summit took place at the Ronald Reagan Building & International Trade Center in Washington, D.C.

The USGBC 2009 Federal Summit provided a forum for discussing global climate change and energy dependence, and for keeping government leaders abreast of emergent green building initiatives, tools, and technologies. This full-day event also included the latest updates on the launch of LEED Version 3 and other USGBC green building programs.

“Green building and retrofitting is at the top of the legislative agenda, and now is the time to work together toward the common goals of advancing green building and improving our nation’s economy,” said Rick Fedrizzi, president, CEO and Founding Chair, USGBC. “The Federal Summit provides a unique opportunity to discuss critical issues and the leadership role of the federal government in mitigating climate change.”

Buildings in the United States are responsible for 39% of CO2 emissions, 40% of energy consumption, 13% water consumption and 15% of GDP per year, making green building a source of significant economic and environmental opportunity, USGBC said. Greater building efficiency can meet 85% of future U.S. demand for energy, and a national commitment to green building has the potential to generate 2.5 million American jobs, the group noted.

The 2009 Federal Summit also marked the launch of USGBC’s new Federal Green Building Leadership Award program. For nearly a decade, the federal government has pioneered the use of LEED and innovative green building initiatives to lead by example in advancing the sustainability of the built environment. Kevin Kampshcroer, Acting Director, Office of Federal High-Performance Green Buildings for the U.S. General Services Administration, and Mark Ginsburg, Senior Executive, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy for the U.S. Department of Energy, were recognized for their outstanding leadership in and dedication to green building.

The federal government, a longtime green building advocate, owns 139 certified and 1,560 registered projects, totaling over 263 million square feet. Currently, 12 federal agencies use the LEED Rating System, which is endorsed by the General Services Administration (GSA). For more information about the Federal Summit, visit www.usgbc.org/federalsummit.