Guidebook For Sustainable Federal Facilities

A new comprehensive guide for sustainable development in the federal government has earned an award from the Federal Planning Division of the American Planning Association. Titled “The New Sustainable Frontier – Principles of Sustainable Development,” the guide was published in September 2009 by the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA). Jonathan Herz, of the GSA’s Office of Governmentwide Policy, authored the publication with the assistance of Anica Landreneau of architectural firm HOK and Matthias Ruth of the School of Public Policy, University of Maryland.

The guide is being recognized as part of the GSA Sustainable Development Education Initiative, which was selected as the winner in the “Outstanding Sustainable Planning, Design and Development Initiative” category.

The authors of the 40-page guidebook—which includes a foreword by Ray C. Anderson, founder and chairman of Interface, Inc.—declared that: “Today’s world is decidedly not sustainable and neither are the Government’s operations. But both of them can be.” To that end, it provides specific principles for “How to live sustainably as a species on a finite Earth into the indefinite future.”

“The economy is a social structure within the greater ecosystem,” explain the authors. “The ecosystem is not subservient to the economy. Without a high quality of matter and energy to transform into goods and services, the economy is on a shaky foundation. We need to connect the laws of thermodynamics back to our economic and ecological decision-making.”

“Incremental change will not be sufficient,” the authors declare. “Existing policies, programs and rating systems must be examined in a closed-loop context; their limitations understood and their applicability reconsidered.”

To request a copy of this PDF, send an e-mail to with the words, “Sustainable Frontier” in the subject line of your e-mail.