Can Government Contractors Certify That Their Goods and Services “Exist in Productive Harmony” with Nature? New Rule for Federal Green Contracting

By:  Lawrence Prosen, Barry Hartman, Nickolas Milonas, K&L Gates, Washington D.C. 

Federal Agencies Issue Interim Rule Promoting Sustainability & Green Building

Sustainability and “green building” have continued to gain momentum and visibility.  Over the past several years, the Federal Government and its various agencies and administrations have increased the extent to which these goals are embodied in government contracting, ranging from green design outlined in the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) requirements to the use of recycled paper for printers and copiers.  This trend has continued to gain prominence through such things as changes in building codes to President Obama’s issuance of Executive Orders on the topic.  See Exec. Order No. 13,423; Exec. Order No. 13,514.

On May 31, 2011, the Department of Defense, General Services Administration, and National Aeronautics and Space Administration issued a joint interim rule (the “Rule”) that for the first time directly and specifically incorporates sustainability requirements into the Federal Acquisition Regulation (located at Title 48 of the Code of Federal Regulations).  76 Fed. Reg. 31,395 (May 31, 2011).  The Rule took effect immediately and implemented the aforementioned Executive Orders that require Federal agencies to lead by example in conservation and energy efficiency.

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