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Indian Health Service The Federal Health Program for American Indians and Alaska Natives

Environmental Sustainability

Sustainable Buildings

IHS follows several guidance documents to develop its sustainable buildings program, including the Office of Environmental Health and Engineering (OEHE) Technical Handbook, the IHS Architectural/Engineering Design Guide (A/E Design Guide), and the Guiding Principles for Federal Leadership in High Performance and Sustainable Buildings (Guiding Principles).

Technical Resources for Sustainability

The Guiding Principles for Federal Leadership in High Performance and Sustainable Buildings (Guiding Principles) [PDF] Exit Disclaimer: You Are Leaving www.ihs.gov are a set of established criteria that require federal agencies to demonstrate "federal leadership in the design, construction, and operation of High-Performance and Sustainable Buildings." IHS works to meet these guidelines in both new construction and existing buildings.

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is the U.S. Green Building Council's internationally-recognized green building certification system. In addition to the Guiding Principles, IHS designs new facilities according to the six LEED core concepts and strategies, listed below:

  1. Sustainable Sites - encourage strategies that minimize the impact on ecosystems.
  2. Water Efficiency - promotes smarter use of indoor water to reduce potable water consumption.
  3. Energy & Atmosphere - promotes better building energy performance through innovative strategies.
  4. Materials & Resources - encourages using sustainable building materials and reducing waste.
  5. Indoor Environmental Air Quality - promotes better indoor air quality and access to daylight and outside scenery views.
  6. Innovation and Design - rewards the use of innovative technologies and strategies to improve a building's performance.

IHS Guidance Documents

The Office of Environmental Health and Engineering (OEHE) Technical Handbook is a guidance document intended to support implementation of IHS policy, and to set standards and regulations for all aspects of IHS-provided technical services. Chapter 21-17 provides sustainability guidelines [PDF] for new facility construction, build-to-lease, and major renovation; existing facilities; and leased facilities.

The OEHE Architectural/Engineering Design Guide (A/E Design Guide) [PDF] describes requirements for the design and construction of federally-funded IHS facilities. In FY 2013, several additions and modifications were made to the A/E Design Guide. Some of these updates include:

  • A requirement for the architect/engineer (A/E) to establish an energy benchmarking tool using ENERGY STAR® Portfolio Manager and to train operation and maintenance staff to use the tool;
  • Prohibition of the use of potable water for landscaping;
  • A new requirement to use Environmental Protection Agency WaterSense-labeled products, where available.

Net-Zero Energy Building Design

Recently passed laws and executive orders require federal agencies to dramatically reduce energy consumption in new buildings, achieving Net-Zero energy by the year 2030. A net zero-energy building has greatly reduced energy needs through efficiency gains such that the balance of energy needs can be supplied with renewable technologies. For the IHS this requirement will necessitate advanced design efforts and a vigorous analysis of the technologies and associated costs.

For information on Net-Zero Energy efforts in the IHS, view the sustainability webinar Striving for Net-Zero Energy Consumption in IHS Staff Quarters Exit Disclaimer: You Are Leaving www.ihs.gov . The presentation provides information on a feasibility study investigating the potential to achieve net-zero energy in IHS staff quarters through energy modeling of a prototypical quarters unit.

Additional Resources

Federal High Performance and Sustainable Buildings Exit Disclaimer: You Are Leaving www.ihs.gov : Provides policy background and supporting technical guidance; as well as key information to meet high performance and sustainable building requirements for both existing buildings and new construction and major renovations.

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) Exit Disclaimer: You Are Leaving www.ihs.gov : LEED certification provides building owners and operators with a framework for identifying and implementing practical and measurable green building design, construction, operations, and maintenance solutions.

Energy Star® Portfolio Manager for federal agencies Exit Disclaimer: You Are Leaving www.ihs.gov : Information on how to benchmark, reduce energy and water use, and assess compliance; lease in an ENERGY STAR certified building; set design targets for new buildings; and purchase ENERGY STAR qualified products.