Green Infrastructure in the Government

On Tuesday, the EPA finally released guidance on Sec. 438 of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. Yes, 2007. This section  of the law states:

“The sponsor of any development or redevelopment project involving a Federal facility with a footprint that exceeds 5,000 square feet shall use site planning, design, construction, and maintenance strategies for the property to maintain or restore, to the maximum extent technically feasible, the predevelopment hydrology of the property with regard to the temperature, rate, volume, and duration of flow.”

Essentially it requires all federal facilities over 5000 square feet to figure out ways of making their buildings act more like the natural environment. I helped add a few things to this particular piece of legislation back in 2006 when discussion of this bill started. It was passed in 2007, and I was excited to see it enacted. However, it’s one thing to pass a bill and another to get it implemented in a timely manner. 

Getting guidance released means a lot of negotiation between federal agencies and discussions about how government agencies can best implement the intent of the law. The EPA handled this well, but negotiations took a long time. In the end it took an executive order to help EPA gain the authority it needed to finally get consensus on the guidance so it could finally be released. But working with NRDC and the EPA, I’m happy to say that the released guidance turned out pretty good.